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City Editor of The Sunday Times 

With an Introduction by 


Long a prominent member of the Onondaga Historical Association 


Printed and Illustrated by 




Copyright, 1894, 

All rights n si rved. 


In order that valuable material, almost lost by 
neglect, might be rescued from obscurity; and that 
those who once played a prominent part in the early 
history of Syracuse, even though their descendants 
might not have been publicly distinguished, should 
have the story of their services to the city recorded 
and preserved for the city's future historian; and 
lastly, that a work might be presented within the 
reach of the most modest purse, the author has under- 
taken the compilation of the following historical 
sketches. No attempt has been made to unduly 
praise the men prominent in the early history of this 
city, nor to detract from any one the credit that is 
rightly due. 

In compiling this material — valuable to the stu- 
dent, to the historian, and to every one who is inter- 
ested in the city's continued prosperity, whether 
descendants of the early settlers or coming hither in 
later years — the author has availed himself of the 
books already written. 

It is a singular fact that "Clark's Onondaga," 


written by. Joshua V. H. Clark in 1849. and the 
" Memorial History of Syracuse," edited by Dwight 
H. Bruce and published in 1891, are very rare and ex- 
pensive books, exceedingly difficult to obtain. Aside 
from recourse to those books, assistance has been 
obtained from M. C. Hand's "From a Forest to a City." 

The author would extend his special acknowledg- 
ments to George J. Gardner, whose mind is a store- 
house of historical information and whose library 
contains many pamphlets and papers very rare and 
priceless ; to ex-Lieut-Gov. Thomas G. Alvord, whose 
retentive memory has supplied many names and dates 
and events; to Gen. Dwight H. Bruce, whose encour- 
agement and advice have been of great assistance; 
and he is none the less under obligations to the many 
others who have kindly aided in this undertaking by 
furnishing facts and suggestions. 

The records in the County Clerk's office have been 
critically examined ; and for aid in the prosecution of 
this part of the work acknowledgments are due to 
County Clerk De Forest Settle and the search clerks, 
Jonathan B. White, James Butler and James B. 
Hitchcock. The old newspaper riles have also been 
consulted, valuable aid having been rendered in this 
labor by the Rev. Ezekiel W. Mundy, Librarian of 
the Central Library. 

In writing the chapter on the Onondaga Academy, 
the author has been greatly aided by the historical 


address of John T. Roberts, prepared for the reunion 
of the graduates of the academy, June 19, 1885. And 
the chapter on the "Jerry Rescue" was compiled from 
a paper written by Charles Russell Bardeen as a special 
report in United States history in Harvard University, 
April 13, 1893. 

For reasons well understood in this community, it 
is deemed proper to state that not one of the illustra- 
tions has been or will be paid for by anyone excepting 
the author, who alone bears the entire expense of this 

The county is about to celebrate the centennial of 

its existence; and the matter has been brought to the 

attention of the public and county authorities by the 

well directed endeavors of the Onondaga Historical 

Association. If the present volume shall prove of any 

advantage or contribute in any degree to the proper 

and worth}' observance of the occasion, this publication 

will perhaps not be deemed inopportune at the present 


The Author. 

Syracuse, X. F., January, 1894. 


" Breathes there the man. with soul so dead, 
Who never to himself hath said, 

This is my own, my native land! 
Whose heart hath ne'er within him burned, 
As home his footsteps he hath turned 

From wandering on a foreign strand? 
If such there breathe, go, mark him well ; 
For him no minstrel raptures swell ; 
High though his titles, proud his name, 
Boundless his wealth as wish can claim,— 
Despite those titles, power, and pelf, 
The wretch, concentred all in self, 
Living, shall forfeit fair renown, 
And, doubly dying, shall go down 
To the vile dust, from whence he sprung, 
Unwept, unhonored and unsung." 

Tims sang the great Scottish Bard— a sentiment 
which should find an echo in every patriotic breast. 

A writer has said that three most tender and 
touching words in the English language are Mother- 
Home — Heaven. A man who does not love his 
country — who will not labor for its interests — who 
smothers the fire of patriotism which naturally 



smoulders in every heart, is fit only "for treason, 
stratagem and spoils." No man can truly be called a 
good citizen, who will not cheerfully do what lies in 
his power and use his best endeavors to rescue from 
oblivion the fast decaying evidences of a past age. It 
thrills the heart of every true lover of his country to 
call to mind the efforts used and the results attained 
during the last decade, in the many centennial cele- 
brations which have been held all over our land — 
patriotic civic and personal in character, yet all of a 
somewhat, though varied, historical nature. 

We, of this county, stand on the threshold of the 
second century of our civil existence as an integral 
portion of the great Empire State. The residents of 
and actors in the earlier period of our history have all 
passed away. Here and there may occasionally be 
seen a patriarch nonagenarian or octogenarian, but 
vk like angels' visits, they are few and far between." 
If found, their memories are so clouded — their descrip- 
tive powers so weakened, or their backward vision so 
hazy, that but little reliable information can be 
gleaned from them. Well may we ask in the language 
of Scripture, — "The fathers — where are they ? and the 
prophets — do they live forever?" 

This geographical section is rich in archaeological 
treasures, and the explorer will be amply rewarded for 
his Labors if he will work diligently in the rubbish of 
the past. Many of our Indian historical traditions 


ante-date the birth of our county, and have been 
preserved and handed down to posterity through the 
indefatigable efforts and perseverance of our well 
known and justly styled authentic writer and histori- 
ographer, Joshua V. H. Clark. 

Imbued with the same spirit, the writer and com- 
piler of this volume has endeavored to place before the 
reader the results of his investigation, so far as our own 
immediate municipal locality is concerned, covering 
the period of our babyhood as a village and our more 
mature years as a populous city, embracing a period 
of over half a century of our rural and city life. 
Existing landmarks have been visited — individuals 
have been consulted — records have been searched — 
musty and time-worn documents have been examined, 
and every authority, written or verbal, has been sought 
whereby information could be obtained, or any data 
or incident, connected with the object sought, procured, 
regardless of expenditure of time or means in the 
pursuit of the knowledge necessary to make the work 
a faithful record of the object described. 

Many local landmarks, whether now existing or 
those passed away, have been minutely and accurately 
described, and many relics historical or otherwise 
which have been preserved or destroyed by the tooth 
of time, have been resurrected from the past and 
placed in the historic archives, where the historian of 
the future can have ready access to them. 


The enterprise has been a laudable one — we trust 
that aside from the pleasure experienced in compila- 
tion, the pecuniary recompense will be adequate for 

the undertaking. 

George J. Gardner. 

Syracuse, X. Y., January, 1894. 


First Mayor of Syracuse.— Harvey Baldwin— His home 
was the centre of fashionable society— His family was 
one of the most noted socially between New York 
and Chicago— One of the early settlers in Syracuse— 
His celebrated "hanging- garden speech," in which 
he prophesied the future greatness of the city of Syra- 
cuse—His public services— His ideas upon the use 

of tobacco as expressed in his will I 9 - 29 

A Famous Coffee House.— The Welch Coffee House, 
afterwards known as Cook's Coffee House, acquired 
an excellent reputation, and it was as well known 
throughout the country as an eating house, as was the 
Syracuse House, which had a national reputation- 
Excellent twenty-five cent dinners— A meeting place 
for every professional and business man in the city— 
"Counselor'' Orcutt— Commodore Vanderbilt's visit- 
Charles Dickens the first guest— The Denin sisters, 
two reigning actresses in those days . . 3 °- 41 

An Early House of God.— The most historic ecclesias- 
tical landmark now remaining in Syracuse— It was 
built by the St. Paul's Protestant Episcopal Church in 


1826 — Sold to the St. Mary's Roman Catholic Church 
in 1842- Abandoned in 1885, when the new St. Mary's 
church edifice was dedicated — The building originally 
stood on the triangular lot, formed by the intersection 
of Warren, East Genesee and Washington streets 42-51 

Mi inky of Early Days. — In those days few men in Syra- 
cuse were worth $10,000 — Mexican and Spanish 
silver, but not much English mone\ r — Safety Fund 
bank notes — Shinplasters issued by the merchants — 
Many counterfeits — Thompson's Bank Note Detector 
— The plan of Thomas S. Truair, Deputy City Treasurer, 
to make small change in 1862 — Great scarcity of frac- 
tional money — Postal currency issued by the Govern 
ment in 1 862 — Resumption of specie payment in 1879 . . . 52-57 

The Three Earliest Banks. — Onondaga County Bank. 
chartered in 1830— Bank of Salina, chartered in 1832— 
Bank of Syracuse, chartered in 1839— The Safety Fund 
System, authorized in 1829 — The Free Bank System. 
established in 1838— The officers of those early banks 
were men of national reputation — The banks were 
ably and successfully managed— Political influence— 
Repudiation by many states of their obligations — Bank 
stock in great demand,- 58-65 

The SYRACUSE Academy. — A celebrated school of learn 
ing in the early days — Incorporated in 1835— Closed 
in 1845— Fostered by Harvey Baldwin, Oliver Teall 
and Aaron Burt — Building erected in the eastern 
section of Syracuse (in Lodi) on East Fayette street, 
just east of ('rouse avenue — Its principals were Mr. 


Kellogg, Oren Root and Joseph A. Allen — Many 
children of the early settlers were graduated, and 
afterwards became prominent men and cultured 
women 66-72 

The Recruiting Station. — The fh-st stone building- 
erected in the village of Syracuse — Judge James Webb 
built it in 1824— His son-in-law, Col. George T. M. 
Davis, became the father-in-law of George Francis 
Train — Among the West Point graduates in charge 
of the Recruiting station were Gen. John C. Robinson, 
Gen. Christopher C. Auger, General Russell and 
Col. Kirby Smith — The building has been used as a 
' dye house since 1851'52 — Destroyed by fire 1893 — 
Judge Webb's two daughters were the belles of Onon 
daga Hill 73-80 

The Old Alvord Building. — The first brick building 
in the present limits of Syracuse — Built in 1808 by the 
father and uncle of Ex-Lieut-Gov. Thomas G. Alvord 
— Real estate values in Salina at that time — Gen. Enos 
D. Hopping, brother-in-law of Dean Richmond — 
Prominent men who occupied that old landmark — 
Gen. Henry A. Barnum taught school there when a 
young man — Exchange street was once a busy thor 
oughfare — Manner of doing business in those early 
days — The farmer"s sleigh, the canal boat and the 
plank road 81-87 

A Foremost Journalist. — Vivus W. Smith — His home 
was the meeting place for political consultations — On 
friendly terms with Horace Greeley, Thurlow Weed 


and William H. Seward, the great newspaper men — 
The residence of Gen. Henry W. Slocum — The 
"Syracuse Journal"— Yearly tours of the great 
political leaders — Eccentricities of Greeley — The 
early home of Thurlow Weed — The first paper to es- 
tablish the local column — Weed originated the short 
paragraph in journalism — Greeley effected the elab- 
orate editorial and originated the "em" dash at the 
commencement of each paragraph 88-95 

The City Boarding House. — Known as the Dana House, 
built by Deacon Daniel Dana, northwestern corner of 
West Genesee and North Clinton streets — The commis- 
sion firm of D. & M. Dana, whose principal competitor 
was Joseph Slocum, father-in-law of Russell Sage — 
The building was considered a large and handsome 
one in its day — A very fashionable boarding house 96-103 

The Weigh-Lock House. — Erected at the foot of Market 
street in 1850 — Contract price and the contractors — 
Volume of merchandise transported over the canal in 
1824, contrasted with that of 1868, the best year — 
Location of the former Canal Collector's office — The 
old canal liasin and the old Market Hall — Great ser- 
vices rendered hy Onondaga in constructing the 
canal— Manner of weighing the boats and their cargoes 
— A dry dock for repairing the boats — The coach. 
the packet and the car 103-113 

Cheney's Reminiscences. -Personal recollections of Tim- 
othy ( '. Cheney as compiled by Parish B. Johnson — 
Published Ln pamphlet form in 1857 — Syracuse in 1824 


— Progress of the village — Mr. Cheney was a con- 
tractor in the early days, and he was intimately con- 
nected with the business and history of the village and 
city — The occupations and characteristics of the early 
men — Dates when the early buildings were erected — 
Brief sketches and anecdotes — A valuable history 113-212 

First Presbyterian Church. — The original site was on 
the northwestern corner of South Salina and Fayette 
streets — Dedicated January, 1826 — Dr. John W. 
Adams, the first pastor — The present church was dedi- 
cated November 26. 1850— The Rev. Charles McHarg, 
Dr. Samuel B. Canfield, Dr. Nelson Millard and Dr. 
George B. Spalding 213-222 

The Old State Arsenal. — Erected in Onondaga Hollow 
(Valley) in 1810 — Authorized by act of Legislature in 
1808— One of the most important military posts in New 
York State — Abandoned soon after the war of 1812 — 
The Mickles' Furnace for casting shot and shell for 
the Government — The celebrated order of Secretary 
of War Armstrong for sending an armed vessel from 
Oswego to Onondaga Valley — The arsenal is fast 
mouldering into decay — The grave of Captain Benja- 
min Branch in Onondaga Hollow . . . .223-228 

The Onondaga Academy. — Intended as a rival of Ham 
ilton College— Founded in 1813 by the Rev. Caleb 
Alexander, who obtained the charter for Hamilton 
College — The subscription paper and the cost of the 
institution — The twenty -two charter trustees — The 
Lancastrian system of education — Passed over to the 


Presbytery of Onondaga — In 1866 the Academy was 

transferred to the Onondaga Free School District — 
The men who were principals of that famous academy 
— The many trials and discouragements — It ranks 
to-day among the best academies in the State 329-240 

First Settler in this County. — Ephraini Webster, a 
very remarkable man — The Leather-Stocking of Onon- 
daga and the hero of Cooper's Indian tales — His father's 
family — Served in the Revolutionary army — Disap- 
pointed in love — Settled in Onondaga Hollow (Valley) 
in 1786 — Webster's Camp — The first Supervisor from 
the town of Onondaga in 1798 — His other public offices 
— Highly esteemed by the Onondaga Indians and by the 
early settlers — (riven a mile square of land and after- 
wards 300 acres — His unhappy married life — Died at 
Tonawanda Creek, October 16, 1824 — His grave at 
Alabama Centre in Genesee county 241-257 

A Celebrated Botanic Infirmary. — Dr. Cyrus Thom- 
son's eccentric career in Geddes — Son of Samuel 
Thomson, the founder of the Thomsonian system of 
medicine — Frequently arrested and fined — Usual pre- 
scriptions were lobelia, hot drops No. (5, and sweating 
— Reputation extended throughout the entire State — 
First stone pillars in Syracuse — Literary effusions 
with plenty of poetrj -Succeeded in getting many 
patients and in making much money 258-270 

The Jerry Rescue.— The Fugitive Slave Law of 1850— 

Excitemenl in Syracuse — Jerry was arrested October 

1. 1 851, and taken before the United States Commits- 


eioner— People aroused by the ringing of church bells 
—Trial of Jerry- Citizens became indignant— V igilance 
committee preparing for action— The rescuing party 
besieged the police office— Jerry is rescued and taken in 
triumph through the crowd— A fine moral feeling in 
fluenced the leaders of the rescuing party— An im- 
portant event in our National history .. 271-298 
Merchants in Exchange Street.— The old Williams 
building erected in 1828— Some of Salina's early mer- 
chants— Williams & Co., Williams & Allen, Richmond, 
Marsh & Clark— The Lynch brothers— Thomas McCar- 
thy, father of State Senator Dennis McCarthy— Dean 
Richmond, who became one of the leading railroad 
presidents in the country— Bennett & Childs— The 
disastrous fire of 1856— Methods of doing business in 
the early days— A salt syndicate that came near 
wrecking the three early banks— Forming a great 
railroad company— " Wild cat" money and specula- 


The Salt Industry.— The old State building in Salina— 
The first Superintendent of the Onondaga Salt Springs 
was appointed in 1797— A list of all the Salt Superin 
tendents— The early manufacturers of salt were squat 
ters— Salt Point consisted formerly of marshy lands 
and was very unhealthy— Early settlers were Revolu 
tionary soldiers or sons of Revolutionary sires— Trans- 
portation through the inland lakes and rivers— The 
canal and batteaux— The first settlers obtained the 
salt water by dipping it from shallow pits— Improve- 
ments made in this great industry 303-310 


The FOUNDER OF Syracuse. — Joshua Foroian — Settled at 
Onondaga Hollow in 1800 — Elected an Assemblyman 
in 1807 on the "Canal Ticket" — His forcible and elo- 
quent speech in the House — His address to Governor 
Clinton at the grand canal celebration, November 1, 
1825 — His public spirit and great services to Syracuse 
— His reception as the founder of the city by the citi- 
zens in 1831 — His home in New Jersey and afterwards 
in North Carolina — The character of this distinguished 
man — His monument in Oakwood cemetery 811-382 


The Legend of Hiawatha. — An Onondaga Tradition — 
The legend as published in "Clark's Onondaga" — 
The Council Fire of the Five Nations was held near 
Syracuse — Longfellow's Hiawatha credited to School 
craft, who credited his information to two Onondaga 
Indian Chiefs — Joshua V. H. Clark's published letter, 
showing that Schoolcraft committed plagiarism — An 
earlier legend of the Iroquois confederation as told by 
Ephraim Webster :;:5;5-369 

Short History of Syracuse.— The old town of Salina, 
containing the villages of Syracuse, Salina and (Jeddes 
— Onondaga county, the original Military Tract — Dates 
when the towns and villages and county were incor- 
porated — List of the village and city officers of Syra- 
cuse.- 370 393 



Home of Harvey Baldwin 19 

Harvey Baldwin.. . 22^ 

Cook's Coffee House 30 < "~"~" 

John L. Cook 34 ■""'' 

The old St. Paul's church 42^' 

The old St. Mary's church 48 ^ 

Shinplaster of Thomas S. Truair ... .. 52 f~ 

Onondaga County Bank Note 58 

Bank of Salina Note . . . . 60 " 

Bank of Syracuse Note . . . . .-. . . 62 

Recruiting Station . 73 

Alvord Building ... 81 

Home of Vivus W. Smith . . . 88 

VivusW. Smith... 92 / ' 

City Boarding House . . . 96 

Weigh-Lock House 103 • 

Map of Syracuse in 1834. .. . .. 113 

First Presbyterian Church . . . . ... 313 ' 

Dr. John W. Adams ... 216 : 

State Arsenal , 223 ' 

Onondaga Academy . . . . . ... 229 

Botanic Infirmary in 1844 . 258 

Botanic Infirmary ... . 264 " 

Jerry Rescue Block... . 271*' 

Williams Building 296 ' 

The old State Salt Building 303 

Josh ua Forman 311 l 


THE HOME OF HARVEY HALDWIN.— From a recent photograph. 



The large old-fashioned wooden dwelling on the 
northwesterly corner of West Onondaga and West 
streets, now occupied by the widow of George Ever- 
son, was once the centre of the most fashionable 
society in this city, being occupied by one of the 
most noted families between New York and Chicago. 
Whenever a distinguished man visited this city in 
the early days, and many men of national reputation 
visited Syracuse, the hospitable owner of that man- 
sion, Harvey Baldwin, was chosen as by natural 
right to be the host and entertainer. Mr. Baldwin 
was a gentleman of rare intelligence, courtesy and 
refinement; and he was distinguished for his enter- 
prise, public spirit, zeal and benevolence in good 
works. His family was a large one, consisting of 
his accomplished and beautiful wife, the daughter of 
Col. William I. Dodge, and several children, the 
daughters being remarkably beautiful and the belles 
of the city. The children were highly educated; 



and as the daughters were able to play on different 
musical instruments and all the children could sing 
admirably, the many guests were accorded a delight- 
ful entertainment. The grounds which surrounded 
that old homestead, consisting of several acres, were 
beautified by fine gardens and driveways, with sev- 
eral high mounds nicely turfed, and containing 
many natural forest trees. They were so large as to 
afford abundant room for picnics and other festival 
gatherings, besides containing a park where several 
deer roamed at their pleasure. 

The property was sold March 9, 1839, by David S. 
Colvin to Horace White, a prominent banker, for 
$800, and it is described as "commencing where the 
road leading towards the Stone Mill (now known as 
West street) joins the Cinder road" (now known as 
West Onondaga street). Mr. White built his resi- 
dence on the property ; but as he considered that it 
was too far into the country and away from his office 
he sold it in 1841 to James L. Voorhees, formerly the 
owner of the Empire House block, for $4,000, the 
deed being acknowledged January 12, 1842. Mr. 
Voorhees sold the property to Harvey Baldwin for 
$5,000, May 18, 1844. Mr. Baldwin enlarged the 
house and greatly improved the grounds. And he 
continued to live there till his death, August 22, 1863, 
at the age of 67 years. He was buried in his family 
vault in Rose Hill cemetery, the first cemetery vault 


built in this city, which was erected in 1844. His 
second wife, Ann Sarah Dodge, who was born Sep- 
tember 28, 181 G, and died December 20, 188G, is also 
buried there. His first wife was the daughter of 
James Geddes, the founder of the village of Geddes. 
Harvey Baldwin was the second son of Dr. Jonas 
C. Baldwin, a wealthy gentleman who founded the 
village of Baldwinsville and who was the second son 
of Captain Samuel Baldwin, a soldier in the revolu- 
tionary war. According to the inscription on the 
family vault, Harvey was born in 1796. He enlisted 
in the war of 1812. During the winter of 181G,. which 
is memorable throughout the country as "the cold 
year," he was adopted by the Oneida Indians, many 
of whom were provided for that winter by his father, 
and given the name of " Cohongoronto," signifying 
a boat having a sharp prow constructed for the navi- 
gation of rapid waters, and intended as emblematical 
of the profession of law, in the study of which he 
was then engaged. The old homestead on the old 
Cinder road has been the scene of many entertain- 
ments given to the Indians by Cohongoronto. Mr. 
Baldwin studied law in the office of Elisha Williams 
and Judge Miller of Oneida county and of Thaddeus 
M. Wood of Onondaga Valley. He was admitted to 
the bar February 28, 1820. He practiced law at 
Onondaga Valley till 182G, when, in company with 
his law partner, Schuyler Strong, he removed to 


Syracuse, opening an office in the east wing of the 
Syracuse House. The remarkable foresight which 
distinguished Mr. Baldwin is shown in this removal 
from Onondaga Valley, at that time considered of 
far more importance than the village of Syracuse. 
But the grand canal celebration, given in honor of 
Governor Clinton and suite on their first passage 
down the canal, Nov. 1, 1825, convinced the young 
man that Syracuse was destined to become the princi- 
pal city. And he was soon followed by Elias W. 
Leavenworth, B. Davis Noxon, James R. Lawrence 
and other men prominent among the early settlers, 
some of whom came with the removal of the Court 
House in 1829. 

The event in Harvey Baldwin's life which will 
always keep his memory green was his celebrated 
"hanging-garden speech," which made him the first 
mayor of Syracuse. This speech* — the most sanguine, 
hopeful, confident, regarding the future of Syracuse 
that was ever delivered — subjected its author to un- 
bounded ridicule and caused him to be looked upon 
as a fool. But subsequent events have proven that 
the man, who had traveled extensively through 
Europe and this country, was wiser than his day and 
generation. The speech was delivered in 1840, when 
Syracuse had so wonderfully increased in size and 
population that the subject of securing for it a city 
charter began seriously to be discussed. There was 

HAEVEY BALDWIN.— From a recent photo, of an old-fashioned ambro-type. 


considerable difference of opinion among the inhabi- 
tants as to the extent of territory that should be 
embraced. Some were for including the whole origi- 
nal Salt Springs Reservation, while others advocated 
only the village of Syracuse. The matter finally 
resulted in the grant of a charter in 1848 including 
the villages of Syracuse and Salina, with the name 
of Syracuse. In the following year the census showed 
that the city's population was 16,000. 

An attempt was made when Mr. Baldwin was the 
Democratic candidate for Congress to stem this tide 
of ridicule by saying : ' ' The description of the destiny • 
of Syracuse, whether reality or vision, is a proud 
dream. To some extent it may be visionary ; but it 
is no more visionary than would have been twenty 
years ago a description of Syracuse as she now really 
is. He came here when there were but five or six 
hundred inhabitants settled down in the midst of a 
swamp." The speech is in part as follows : 

' ' Were we permitted to indulge in visions of the 
future, I would present a view of our village or city, 
as it is to appear hereafter, when all of us who are 
now on the busy stage of life shall be slumbering with 
our fathers. It is a remarkable fact that everybody 
away from our village,- foreign travelers and all, pre- 
dict for us a higher destiny than we claim for our- 
selves. It is universally conceded that we are to 
become the great inland town of the State, and next 


in size and importance to New York and Buffalo — 
that we are to go on by rapid strides, increasing in 
population, until we shall number from 100,000 to 
200,000. If past experience will throw any light upon 
the subject, then may we fairly claim that the short 
space of fifty years will give us a population of more 
than 100,000 souls. Let us, sir, for a moment con- 
template the city of Syracuse as she will then appear. 
Immense structures of compact buildings will in every 
direction cover this delightful plain, and every hill, 
knoll and swell of ground be occupied by some stately 
mansion or neat cottage. 

"All bordering territory will have been brought 
into a high and perfect state of cultivation, and our 
beautiful lake, on all its beautiful shores and borders, 
will present a view of one continuous villa, ornamented 
with its shady groves and hanging gardens, and con- 
nected by a wide and splendid avenue that shall 
encircle its entire waters, and furnish a delightful 
drive to the gay and prosperous citizens of the town, 
who will, toward the close of each summer's day, 
throng it for pleasure, relaxation or the improvement 
of health. In every salt manufactory that studs its 
shores will be seen the ponderous steam engine, 
breathing forth its heated vapor, and by the same 
power drawing rich treasure from the bowels of the 
earth, and converting it into an article indispensable 
to the human family ; while it drives a thousand 


wheels and propels cotton, woolen and flouring mills, 
and all the varied machinery known to man or that 
may be by man's ingenuity designed and adopted to 
his necessities and wants. 

" Then, too, will be seen the magnificent steamers 
of the ocean and of our inland seas arriving and 
departing or lying at our extended wharves, receiv- 
ing and discharging their heavy aud well assorted 
cargoes ; and everywhere will be heard the hum of 
its busy, thrifty and happy people. On yonder hill 
will be seen the gilded dome of the stately and 
massive capitol ; and pinnacles and spires towering 
from the plain in every direction, pointing their 
tall shafts towards heaven, as emblems of those 
who worship beneath. What a beautiful view will 
here burst upon the delighted traveler as he treads 
the lofty deck of the ocean or lake steamer just 
emerging from the slackened water and deepened 
channel of the Oswego into our beautiful lake, or as 
he is whirled with locomotive power and speed along 
the numerous railways that on the east and west, 
the north and south, approach the town. The ex- 
tended city, with its hundred spires, pinnacles and 
domes, its ascending smoke, vapor and dust, lies before 
him. On the east and west, the sloping hills, which, 
by an easy and gentle gradation from the south, drop 
here to the level of the valley, are studded with 
splendid mansions and neat cottages ; and southward 


still, rising in magnificent gradation, are seen in tlie 
dim distance the blue and folding hills of Onondaga, 
Lafayette and Pompey, whose sides and summits are 
chequered by neat farms, carved out from the forest, 
and these again chequered and colored by all the 
various crops of the husbandman, with innumerable 
flocks and herds feeding upon their green and rich 
pastures, or basking in the genial rays of the sun that 
warms its fertile soil — while at the north our beautiful 
lake lies like a gem in the lap of the extended valley, 
which, unbroken, sweeps away towards the mighty 
Ontario, whose waters wash the northern shores of 
our Republic, and whose centre channel defines our 
northern boundary. 

"In short, sir, everything is clustered here calcu- 
lated to invite and gladden the heart of man — every- 
thing which the lover of the world, the man of pleas- 
ure or business, the Christian, the philanthropist or 
the admirer of nature can desire, and which, collec- 
tively, make up the beautiful landscape. Deem me 
not extravagant, sir. I speak of things that are and 
are to be. This is not a fancy sketch, but a slight 
pencilling, an imperfect and dim shadowing forth of 
the future." 

It is needless to say that Mr. Baldwin advocated 
the measure — indeed, he made the motion — to include 
not onlyGeddes and Liverpool, but the entire reser- 
vation. And his unbounded faith in the future 


prosperity of the town took a substantial form. He 
purchased property in every part of the city ; so that a 
railroad could not pass through the city nor a manu- 
facturing concern locate here without coming to him 
for the purchase of land. And he was a strong 
public spirited citizen. He took a prominent and 
active part in the construction of plank roads and 
bridges and in the organization of every railroad con- 
structed in the early days. The very first winter that 
he came to Syracuse he organized a Mechanics' 
Library ; he started a Lyceum ; he was one of the 
originators of an Association Library ; he contrib- 
uted aid liberally to the building of every church in 
the city ; he was one of the fathers of the State Agri- 
cultural Society, the sole founder of the Onondaga 
County Agricultural Society and one of the origin- 
ators of the present common school system; a fast 
friend of the free school system, and active in the in- 
ternal improvement of both the city and the county ; 
and acting in all merely as a private citizen. He 
brought into the county and distributed a great variety 
of foreign and other valuable seed, and was the first 
to introduce the Durham and Berkshire stock and 
good breeds of sheep. He was at one time Chief of 
the old Volunteer Fire Department. He was the 
counsel and legal adviser in the organization of the 
old Onondaga County Bank, the first institution of 
the kind in the county, and continued its attorney 


for many years. He was appointed not only the 
agent, but the legal adviser of the Syracuse Company, 
which formerly owned almost all of Syracuse. He 
was the principal originator and the first President of 
the Syracuse Savings Institution, which was the first 
of the kind in this section of the State. 

The bar of Onondaga County paid a fitting tribute 
to his memory at the time of his death, saying that 
" the high and extensive culture, polished manners, 
great integrity and persuasive eloquence which he 
brought to the performance of his professional duties, 
rendered him justly eminent among the lawyers of 
this county." The Common Council also passed reso- 
lutions, saying : "Mr. Baldwin has been foremost 
in promoting all measures of public utility, and in 
advancing by his personal efforts and by pecuniary 
sacrifices the interests of the community in which he 

The last will of Harvey Baldwin, dated May 27, 
1863, contains this eccentric clause.: "And regarding 
the use of tobacco in any form whatever as an un- 
gentlemanly, filthy and pernicious practice, and 
wishing to express my dislike and abhorrence of it, I 
hereby declare that any of my children who shall 
offend in the premises after the publication of this, 
my last will and testament, and before the distribu- 
tion and final settlement of my estate, shall have his 
or her share as the case may be, charged with the sum 


of $1,000, to be deducted from such share or shares, 
and the amount thereof shall be distributed equally 
among the surviving children who shall not so offend." 
When Mr. Baldwin died his estate possessed consider- 
able property in Syracuse and Onondaga county, 
besides very large tracts of land in Louisiana and 

An account of the life of Harvey Baldwin would 
be incomplete without some mention being made of 
his accomplished children. At the time of his death 
his minor children were Cora, Grace, Sarah, Burnet 
T., and Irving D. His other children who were liv- 
ing at that time were Laura, who married Washing- 
ton Morton, of New York, and whose wedding was 
the first one in this city to which tickets of admission 
were issued — this being made necessary on account 
of the numerous friends of the family ; Harvey ; 
Julia ; and Mary, who married Edward Renshaw 
Jones, a wealthy gentleman of New York city, now 
deceased. The daughters were considered the most 
beautiful and accomplished young ladies in the city, 
and they were the recipients of much favorable atten- 
tion in the best social circles of Europe, to which their 
father's social standing admitted them. The surviv- 
ing children are living in or near New York city. 



The coffee house which formerly stood on the cor- 
ner of Washington and Warren streets, where the Van- 
derbilt House now stands, was a very famous eating 
house in its day, being favorably known throughout 
the entire State and exceedingly popular with the 
people who then resided in Syracuse. The erection 
of the building, as a two-story wooden dwelling house, 
was begun in 1824 by Gen. Jonas Mann, who moved 
in his family the next season and during the summer 
finished the work. After a couple of years the 
house was occupied by Col. Elijah Phillips, who was 
for many years agent of the great line of stages of 
Thorpe & Sprague from Albany to Buffalo. The wife 
of Col. Phillips was the daughter of Asa Danforth, 
jr., the first white child born in Onondaga county 
and the mother of Mrs. Peter Outwater, who was the 
mother-in-law of Andrew D. White, Ex-President of 
Cornell University. 

In later years the place was rented by Andrew 

COOK'S COFFEE HOUSE.— From an old stereoscopic view. 


Leinhart as a German tavern and boarding house. 
The place was afterwards run as a saloon by a Ger- 
man named Seigle. The bar was made very attrac- 
tive by means of mirrors and bird cages. And among 
the many birds there was an old and wicked parrot, 
well informed in bar-room etiquette, who would call 
in the most deliberate manner for the different kinds 
of drinks. The place was fitted up in a better style 
than was usual for those days, and it was a popular 
place of resort, especially among the Germans. But 
that which distinguished it most was in being the 
scene of one of the greatest riots that ever occurred in 
the village of Syracuse. 

On the night of the first of January, 18-44, while a 
New Year's ball was in progress in that house, several 
roughs from Salt Point, as Salina was then called, 
entered the bar room. "William Blake, who had been 
celebrating the day beyond his powers of endurance, 
smashed his glass on the bar. This was in accordance 
with a prearranged plan, for the Salt Pointers were 
on mischief bent. A war of words ensued with the 
woman who was dispensing the drinks. The woman, 
against whom some insulting remark had been made, 
called for assistance. Her husband, Mr. Seigle, there- 
upon promptly shot, but did not kill Blake. Then 
the fight became terrific, for in those days the boys, 
especially the Salt Pointers, were fighters. Several 
of the participants were shot. It was fortunate that 


Captain Timothy H.TealPs cadets, whose quarters were 
in the Granger Block, directly opposite, had just re- 
turned from their drill. Lieutenant William B. Olm- 
sted called together the departing members of the 
Syracuse Cadets, and, surrounding the house, cap- 
tured Seigle and several others and marched their 
prisoners to the old jail. When the cadets had de- 
parted the mob ransacked the house and made a bon- 
fire of all the furniture. The cadets returned in time 
to save the building from being burned. The prison- 
ers were tried the next day before Major William A. 
Cook, Justice of the Peace, and they were acquitted. 
Several of those who attacked the house were put 
under bonds to keep the peace. The German land- 
lord, besides having his furniture totally demolished, 
mourned the loss of $300, which had been stolen from 
him. And after that he had no peace. He retired 
early every night, locked himself securely in, and 
stationed a guard at his door. He Avas glad to sell 
out his business the following April to Eliphalet 
Welch; and then he departed for Milwaukee. 

Mr. Welch had formerly been associated with 
George Babcock, his nephew, in conducting a tem- 
perance restaurant, called the Syracuse Lunch, in 
the basement of the wooden building which was 
located where the Onondaga County Savings Bank 
building is now. Mr. Babcock had purchased that 
lunching place from Elisha Ford, June 20, 183!); and 


considerable money had been made there, the trade 
coming mostly from the Erie canal packet boats which 
landed near by. It was thought at that time that 
Mr. Welch had made a great mistake in moving to 
the corner of Warren and Railroad streets, as that 
location was considered too far removed from the 
centre of trade. But Mr. Welch enlarged and im- 
proved the building and made it a very desirable re- 
sort for ladies and gentlemen. Welch's Coffee House, 
as the place was called, soon acquired an excellent 
reputation, and it was as well known throughout the 
country as an eating house as was the old Syracuse 
House, which had a national reputation. In those 
days the depot stood in the centre of the street be- 
tween Salina and Warren streets. 

Mr. Welch was given a key to a door on the eastern 
side of the depot, in consideration of his allowing an 
extra track, which passed from a switch at Salina 
street around the south side of the depot, to be placed 
in front of his coffee house, there joining the main 
track. In this way he was enabled to secure some of 
the passengers for his eating house. 

Much of the success of Welch's coffee house was 
due to Mrs. Welch, who was an excellent pastry cook, 
and to George Babcock, who was an excellent mana- 
ger. But, on account of his wife's failing health, 
Mr. Welch sold out his business, April 1, 1851, to 
John L. Cook and Emilus Gay, and retired to his 


farm of thirteen acres, located about where Cortland 
avenue enters South Salina street. He died Septem- 
ber 10, 1874, at the age of 78, and is remembered for 
his gentlemanly manners and his kindhearted, gen- 
erous disposition. His surviving children are Mrs. 
Laurence W. Myers and Mrs. George H. Hosmer. 
Elisha Ford, aged 85 years, and George Babcock, 
aged 80 years, are still living. Cook & Gay con- 
tinued the place for one year, and then Mr. Babcock 
bought out Mr. Gay's interest, the firm continuing as 
Cook & Babcock for three years. During that time 
the business was so prosperous that the firm made a 
yearly net profit of $7,000 above living expenses. Mr. 
Babcock then sold out his interest to Mr. Cook, who 
took into partnership his sons, John L., jr., and 
Austin D., the place being then known as Cook & 
Sons' Coffee House. 

There is not a resident of this city, who lived here 
a quarter of a century ago, who does not entertain 
pleasant recollections of Cook's Coffee House. It was, 
indeed, a famous eating house. So popular had the 
place become, that the little two-story wooden build- 
ing became altogether too small for the many cus- 
tomers, and an additional building was added on Rail- 
road street, which was reserved exclusively for ladies, 
and an extension was made on Warren street for the 
kitchen. There was also a large open shed built on 
Warren street to accommodate the horses of the farm- 



ers. The main entrance was on Railroad street with 
a side entrance on Warren street. The front part of 
the room was reserved as a meeting place; and here 
could be found, during some parts of the day, every 
professional and business man in the city. Then came 
the bar, which extended across the room, parallel 
with Railroad street. Beyond that was the dining 
room. A large table, extending east and west, was 
surrounded by small tables, with two small private 
rooms on the Warren street side. At noon time the 
table was spread with an excellent twenty-five cent 
dinner, each plate being ready for the customer, and 
provided with a capital repast, kept warm by means 
of heaters, placed upon the table. It was not an un- 
usual occurrence for a customer to wait for a seat to 
become vacant. 

In those happy days, when a man could obtain a 
glass of Hersey's whiskey, which was made in Caz- 
enovia and which was celebrated throughout the 
country, for three cents, and a pure Havana cigar for 
three cents, it was customary for each customer, upon 
paying for his dinner, to receive a cigar. And in 
those good old times the stores did not close till nine 
or ten o'clock. It was customary during the evenings 
for the merchants and their clerks, the lawyers and 
other professional men, to meet at Cook's Coffee 
House for a light repast, a social glass and a fragrant 
cigar. Mrs. Cook, who is still living, was celebrated 


for her pastry, especially her lemon pie, which sold 
for three cents. The fashionable ladies of the city 
frequently took their meals in the room reserved for 
them. Mr. Cook, an English gentleman of the old 
school, greeted his guests with a happy remark or a 
pleasant exchange of witticism, and did much by his 
courteous manners to make his eating house popular, 
though his success depended largely upon the excel- 
lent management of his wife. Among the regular 
customers was "Counselor" Orcutt, an attorney who 
enjoyed the reputation of being an eccentric character. 
Promptly at nine o'clock every evening, just as the 
clock was striking the hour, the door would open and 
the Counselor would enter the room. He was al- 
ways dressed in an old-fashioned blue coat with brass 
buttons, a ruffled shirt, a blue pair of pantaloons, 
gaitors about his shoes and a silk hat. The bartender 
would place a glass of beer upon the counter; and 
"Counselor" Orcutt, with his crooked iron cane 
hanging from his left arm, the glass of beer in one 
hand and a stub of a cigar in the other, would walk 
up and down the room, always ready for an argu- 
ment, which he sustained with some ability as he was 
well read, and never leaving the place till all the other 
customers had departed. 

In 1807 the old building was removed to its present 
location, the northwestern corner of Montgomery 
and Jackson streets. It was purchased by Isaac 


Manheiiner and used as a grocery ; and it is now occu- 
pied by his son-in-law, Moses Lichtenberg, as a gro- 
cery. It was succeeded by a larger building, which, 
completely covered the former site. Mr. Cook named 
his hotel The Vanderbilt in honor of Commodore Van- 
derbilt, in order to give it the advantage of a world- 
renowned name and thus add popularity to his hotel. 
The Commodore was so well pleased with this honor 
that he sent Mr. Cook a fine engraving of himself, 
and the picture still hangs in the office of the hotel. 
The Vanderbilt House was opened March 18, 1868, 
Cook & Sons being the proprietors. It was the first 
hotel in the city to be furnished with parlor mantles 
and grate fires. Charles Dickens was the first guest. 
When he came to Syracuse March 9, 1868, to give his 
readings of "The Christmas Carol" and the Bardell- 
Pickwick trial, at the Wieting Hall, he was allowed 
to take the corner room directly over the parlor in 
order that he might have a grate fire in his room, 
even though the hotel was not ready for its guests. 
When Cornelius Vanderbilt, or Commodore as he was 
generally called, was married Saturday morning, Au- 
gust 21, 1869, at London, Canada — Miss Frank Craw- 
ford being the favored lady — he stayed at the hotel 
which had been named after him. The Commodore 
was then 73 years old, and that was his second mar- 
riage. The bridal party reached Syracuse Saturday 
evening, the special car stopping in front of the hotel. 


The Commodore and his wife hastened to their apart- 
ments, where they remained during their stay, their 
meals being there served to them. But the waiters 
had cause to remember the short stay, which ended 
Sunday morning, as the venerable railroad king left 
fifty dollars to be scattered among them. 

Mr. Cook sold his hotel in 1879 to Daniel Candee, 
Horace Candee and Earll B. Alvord. The place has 
since been run as the Vanderbilt, and it is now one 
of the leading hotels in the city. Mr. Cook died No- 
vember 4, 1890, at the age of 83. He was survived 
by his sons John L., jr., Austin D. and Major Abel 
G. and his daughter, Mrs. Lyman B. Dickinson. His 
daughter Mary Jane, who married Marsh C. Pierce, 
died some years previous. His son Austin died in 
March, 1891. Mr. Cook was a prominent man in his 
day. He was the Democratic Alderman from the 
Sixth Ward in 1858 and one of the original cpmmittee 
by whom Oakwood cemetery was bought and laid 
out in 1859. He was also elected Assessor. 

In the old Cook Coffee House there were several 
fine paintings by Sanford Thayer, a local artist of 
widely recognized ability, who painted many valuable 
pictures. But there was one picture which used to 
hang in that famous eating house, and which now 
hangs in the bar room of the Vanderbilt, that can 
recall many pleasant recollections to the theatre goers 
of thirty and forty years ago. A card on the picture 


reads thus: "Compliments of R. W. Jones. This pic- 
ture hung on the wall in the old Welch Coffee House 
on this site, about forty years ago." The picture 
represents two women in their stage costume for "As- 
modeus, or the Little Devil's Share." As there was 
some resemblance in the face and hands especially, 
and also in the form, of the shorter of the two figures 
to Susan Denin, the picture passed as a likeness of 
the Denin sisters, Susan and Kate. But the picture 
was not a likeness. These Denin sisters were the 
reigning actresses in those days, and they became 
famous in starring throughout the United States. 
They were great favorites in Syracuse, especially with 
the "Salt Pointers," as the residents of Salina were 
called; and they were always given an especially en- 
thusiastic reception whenever they appeared in the 
National Theatre, which was formerly the First Bap- 
tist church, and which is now the site of the Univer- 
salist church. They will be remembered as appearing 
in their great play, Jack Sheppard, as well as Asrno- 
deus, Romeo and Juliet, in which Susan appeared as 
Romeo and Kate as Juliet, and also in Grandmother's 

The Denin sisters were fine actresses, singers and 
dancers, and they were blessed with elegant figures, 
which made their presence very attractive. Susan 
was an unusually beautiful woman in face and figure. 
She was the shorter of the two. She married Fletcher 


Woodward, son of Arnold Woodward, a former pro- 
minent dry goods merchant in this city. The mar- 
riage was not a happy one, as Woodward was of a 
jealous disposition. Susan made large sums of money 
on the stage, but Fletcher was improvident. While 
returning from California by steamer, Fletcher is be- 
lieved to have shot an actor of whom he was jealous. 
Susan nursed the actor, who died a few months after- 
wards in New York ; but as no one was found who 
would swear against Fletcher, the murderer was never 
found. Susan was afterwards divorced from her hus- 
band. When she next appeared at the National 
Theatre, Fletcher and some of his friends attempted 
to hiss her from the stage. But there were a number 
of Salt Pointers in the theatre, and they notified him 
that if the hissing continued they would throw him 
and his friends out of the building. It is needless to 
add that the hissing ceased, for the Salt Pointers were 
famous for their fighting propensities. Susan thanked 
her admirers for their kind protection. She is re- 
membered as having resided in this city in the Wood- 
ward homestead, on the southeasterly corner of Rail- 
road and Clinton streets, and she was a welcomed 
guest in social circles. Susan afterwards married 
Captain Frank Barroll. Her daughter is now living 
in Portland, Oregon, a lovely woman and the mother 
of five children. Susan died in 1875 and is buried in 
Indianapolis, Ind. The picture was purchased by 


Richard W. Jones from Mr. Cook; and it formerly- 
hung on the walls of the Citizens' Club, of which Mr. 
Jones has been President for some years. About a 
year ago Mr. Jones gave the celebrated picture to the 
Vanderbilt House. 



The old, dilapidated wooden building on the north- 
westerly corner of Madison and Montgomery streets 
is the most historic ecclesiastical landmark now re- 
maining in Syracuse. It was the first Episcopal as 
well as the first Catholic church in the village of 
Syracuse ; and it was the third building in this place 
to be used exclusively for religious purposes. The 
first religious society organized in the village was of 
the Baptist denomination, the society being organ- 
ized in the winter of 1819-20. The First Baptist 
Church edifice was erected in 1824. The First Pres- 
byterian Church edifice was built in the summer of 
1825 and dedicated in January, 1826, the society hav- 
ing been organized December 14, 1824. This old 
building was completed in 1827 for the St. Paiil's 
Protestant Episcopal Church, though religious ser- 
vices were first held there in July, 1826. In Febru- 
ary, 1842, the edifice, with all its fixtures and ap- 
pointments, including the organ but excepting the 


THE OLD ST. PAUL'S CHURCH— From an old painting. 


bell, was sold to the congregation of St. Mary's 
Roman Catholic Church for about $600. The first 
Roman Catholic Church of Syracuse was organized 
December 25, 1842. 

A meeting of those interested in organizing St. 
Paul's Church was held May 22, 182G, in the old dis- 
trict school house which stood for many years in 
Church street, in the rear of the former First Baptist 
meeting-house. The Rev. John McCarty presided, 
and John Durnford and Samuel Wright were elected 
wardens; and Amos P. Granger, Archy Kasson, 
James Mann, Matthew W. Davis, Mathew "Williams, 
Barent Filkins, Othniel H. Williston and Jabez 
Hawley were elected vestrymen. The question of 
erecting a church edifice of their own had been pre- 
viously discussed, the preliminary steps having been 
taken in 1824. In 1825 The Syracuse Company gave 
to this congregation the triangular lot, bounded by 
Warren, East Genesee and East Washington streets, 
where the Granger Block now stands, under the ex- 
press agreement that a church should be built thereon. 
In September of that year the frame of an edifice, 41 
by 52 feet, was raised and covered in, and in the fol- 
lowing July the first regular service by a missionary 
began, though the building was not completed till 
1827. In those early days that triangular piece of 
ground was a fine little green meadow. John Durn- 
ford advocated the selection of this meadow for the 


proposed site for the church edifice, but Archy Kas- 
son and John Rodgers, the other members of the Site 
Committee, offered an objection to the lot, saying it 
was too far from the village, whose central location 
was where the old red mill stood, now the location of 
the High School building in West Genesee street on 
the east bank of the Onondaga creek. But the Site 
Committee finally coincided with Mr. Durnford in his 
choice and the report was adopted. 

The church edifice was a plain, unpretending build- 
ing, painted white, with green blinds, clapboarded, 
buttressed angles and surmounted with a square 
tower, with pinnacled corners. The windows were 
lancet shaped, and there were three on either side, in 
front two full length and one shorter over the en- 
trance, and one in the west end over the pulpit, fitted 
with seven by nine plain glass. The triangular lot 
was greater in its area than it now appears. The 
front faced the east and between it and the apex of 
the triangle was a grass plot, set with shrubbery. 
The rear or west wall was within a very few feet of 
the east line of Warren street, and the whole plot was 
entirely surrounded with a plain picket fence. In 
front of the church, at the further end of the triangle, 
was located a well of superb water, the common resort 
of the residents of that neighborhood. The accom- 
panying illustration is from a picture painted and 
given to the church by Miss F. L. Dickinson; and the 


painting may now be found in the vestry room of the 
present St. Paul's Cathedral. 

The Rev. John McCarty, who was the first clergy- 
man of St. Paul's church, resigned in the latter part 
of 1826 from his pastoral charge of the parish and also 
from the one at Onondaga Hill ; and he was succeeded 
in the following December by the Rev. William Bar- 
low, who became the first resident missionary of the 
church in the village of Syracuse. Mr. Barlow was an 
uncle of the members of the Barlow family, all at that 
time living here and occupying prominent positions in 
society. He continued his services until the autumn 
of 1828. From this period until 1830, a space of more 
than a year and a half, the parish was left without a 
rector. The Rev. Palmer Dyer of Hartford, Conn., 
entered upon the rectorship of this church May 1, 1830. 
One of his first acts was the establishing of a parish 
library, which was the first public library established 
in the village. Its volumes from some cause eventu- 
ally became scattered and the remnant was absorbed 
either by purchase or gifts in the library of the Syra- 
cuse Academy. This parish library did much towards 
building up a church sentiment and in allaying a 
strong sectarian opposition. In those early days, 
when the common people were more unenlightened 
than they are to-day, there was a considerable feeling 
against the Episcopal church, which was looked upon 
as resembling the Catholic church, against which 


there was an intense, bitter feeling. It will be re- 
membered by the older citizens that in the winter of 
1847-48, Dennis McCarthy, who afterwards became 
distinguished as State Senator, and Dr. James Foran, 
a finely educated and leading physician, gave lectures 
twice a week on the doctrines of the Catholic church 
in the public hall, which was built on the triangular 
lot where the Granger Block now stands after St. 
Paul's church was removed. Those lectures were of 
the nature of debates, as they were participated in by 
representatives of the Protestant religion, especially 
of the Methodist denomination. Bat happily, through 
the influence of education, that sectarian prejudice is 
now greatly removed. 

In 1833, Mr. Dyer resigned, and the parish from 
that time until May, 1835, except for a short period 
of about six months, when the Rev. Richard Salmon 
officiated, was without a resident rector. Mr. Dyer 
was succeeded by the Rev. John Gregg, who officiated 
for about six months. In October, 1835, the vestry 
resolved to recall the Rev. William Barlow, who, 
however, declined the call. The Rev. Francis Thomas 
Todrig became rector in December, 1835, and on the 
28th of May following, was instituted according to 
the forms laid down in the prayer book. This is the 
first and only instance of the institution of a rector 
in this manner, in this parish, from its organization 
till the occasion of the Rev. Dr. Henry Gregory in 

st. mary's church 47 

1840. These two clergymen, Messrs. Todrig and Gre- 
gory, were the only ones thus instituted as rectors in 
St. Paul's church in this city. Mr. Todrig had for- 
merly been a member of the Roman Catholic church. 
He resigned in July, 1836, and from that date till De- 
cember of the same year, the parish was again 
vacant. The Rev. Clement M. Butler accepted the 
charge December 4, 1836, and continued to officiate 
till May, 1838. He was succeeded, July 15, 1838, by 
the Rev. John B. Gallagher, who resigned November 
1, 1840. 

In March, 1840, the first definite action relative 
to a change of location of St. Paul's Church edifice 
was had. The Rev. Dr. Henry Gregory became rector 
December 1, 1840, and continued as such for nearly 
eight years, when he became rector of St. James 
Church in this city, in order that he might carry out 
his ideas on free pews in churches. The church lot 
was sold March 8, 1841, at auction, by order of the 
Court of Chancery, to Daniel Elliott, Joseph I. Brad- 
ley and Samuel Larned for $8,000; and the new lot, 
corner of Warren and Fayette streets, where the 
Government building now stands, was purchased for 
$3,500. The last sermon preached in the old edifice 
previous to its removal, was on April 10, 1842, 
by the Rev. Henry Gregory, D. D., an eloquent, 
able and highly esteemed gentleman. The church edi- 
fice now passed into the hands of the Roman Catholic 


Church, from which time it was called St. Mary's 
church. The corner stone of the new St. Paul's 
church, which was a marvel of beauty in its day, was 
laid July 12, 1841, and the building was completed 
early in the following year. 

The Rev. Father Michael Haes was the first resi- 
dent Catholic priest in the village of Syracuse. He 
assumed charge of St. Mary's Church, the old build- 
ing having been removed to the corner of Montgom- 
ery and Madison streets, then an open common, a spot 
low and marshy and altogether undesirable for resi- 
dences or for buildings of this character. The lot 
was given by The Syracuse Company to the Catholic 
Society, who transferred it to Bishop McCloskey of 
Albany, who afterwards became Archbishop of New 
York. The title now stands in the Board of Trustees 
of St. Mary's Church. Previous to the year 1842, 
there were only a few Catholic families in the village 
of Syracuse. During the administration of Father 
Haes the church grew rapidly, and in 1848, the year 
when Syracuse became a city, the church edifice was 
considerably enlarged and improved. The general 
external appearance of the building, however, does 
not vary much from its former aspect, except that a 
spacious basement was finished off and the building 
was lengthened and an addition of two windows made 
on either side, and a section was added to the tower, 
on which there was placed a cross. In 1852 the 

THE OLD ST. MARY'S CHURCH. -From a recent photograph. 


congregation of St. Mary's Church became so numer- 
ous that there was organized the Church of St. John 
the Evangelist, the edifice for which was erected under 
the charge of Father Haes in 1854. This church is 
now St. John's Cathedral, an outgrowth of St. Mary's 

The Rev. Father Haes died in 1859, and he was 
succeeded by the Rev. Father James A. O'Hara, a 
man of unusual ability and an eloquent and compre- 
hensive speaker. Father O'Hara was the first Ameri- 
can student who graduated from the University of 
Sapienza, a famous seat of learning, and honored with 
the degree of Doctor of Divinity. Through his ardent 
and strenuous efforts the site of the present St. Mary's 
Church edifice, at the intersection of Montgomery, 
Jefferson and East Onondaga streets, was purchased 
from Peter Burns for $30, 000. The laying of the corner 
stone of the new St. Mary's Church, the most costly 
and beautiful church in the city, was held November 
8, 1874. And it is worthy of note, as showing the 
kindly feeling which then existed among the differ- 
ent churches, a very marked contrast to former times, 
that considerable financial aid was given by people 
of other religious denominations. The new St. Mary's 
Church edifice was dedicated December 6, 1885. The 
Rev. Father John Grimes became assistant to Dr. 
O'Hara, November 10, 1882, succeeding the Rev. 
Father James J. O'Brien, who was removed to Fonda. 


Dr. O'Hara died December 26, 1889, and he was suc- 
ceeded by the Rev. Father Grimes, February 6, 1890. 
Under the administration of Father Grimes the con- 
gregation has steadily increased, and the church is in 
an excellent and prosperous condition. 

The old building has been suffered to remain un- 
used since it was abandoned in 1885. One Sunday in 
1832 as Richard A. Yoe, one of the few early settlers 
now living, was coming out of the old St. Paul's 
church, he was asked by a man if Captain Hiram 
Putnam, then President of the village, was inside the 
church. The man said that a passenger on one of the 
line canal boats, which carried freight as well as 
passengers, had been abandoned by the boat's crew 
because he was sick, and that the passenger lay in 
the marsh grass between the two locks, Nos. 18 and 
49. When Captain Putnam came out, he and Mr. 
Yoe and the man went to the canal, found the sick 
passenger and took him in a wagon to the old pest 
house, which was then on the hill just north of Rose 
Hill cemetery. The passenger died that same after- 
noon, and it was found that he had the Asiatic cholera. 
His was the first case of cholera in Syracuse. Many 
deaths followed during that year. It might be also 
noted that the first case of Asiatic cholera appeared 
in the United States during 1832. The old bell which 
hung in the tower of the old St. Paul's church, the 
only part not sold to the Catholic Church, was sent 


to Troy and recast for the new St. Paul's church, in 
Warren and Fayette streets. When that church was 
torn down in 1885 for the beautiful St. Paul's Cathe- 
dral, corner of Montgomery and^Fayette streets, the 
bell broke in being taken down and it was again re- 
cast in Troy. It now swings in the present cathedral, 
of which the Rev. Henry R. Lockwood, S. T. D., is 
the able and esteemed rector. 



Prior to 1830, the date when the first bank was 
established in Syracuse, the banking business of this 
county was carried on mostly by the Bank of Auburn, 
of which Daniel Kellogg of Skaneateles was Presi- 
dent, and by the Cayuga County Bank of Auburn. 
In those early days there were very few men in the 
present limits of Syracuse who were worth $10,000. 
If a man was worth $5,000, he was considered wealthy. 
There was not a great deal of money in circulation ; 
and of the money then used most of it was Mexican 
and Spanish silver. There was not much English 
money, comparatively, and very little American or 
Federal currency. When the Safety Fund banks 
were authorized by this State in 1829, the banks, in- 
corporated under that act, issued bank notes which 
were readily received as money by the merchants 
throughout the entire country. The cities where this 
money was redeemed were Albany and New York. 
The banks in the Western States, and even in 





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Pennsylvania, were not considered very sound, and the 
paper money they issued was called "wild cat" 
money, subject to a discount by the banks in New 
York city. The bank notes issued in this State and 
the New England States, under the Safety Fund pro- 
tection, were the only ones that were redeemable in 
New York city at par, the exchange being one-half 
of one per centum on a dollar. 

The barter trade, which had prevailed quite ex- 
tensively in the very early days, had passed away 
when banks were established. The salt, which was 
the main product in those days, was then paid for 
either by note or cash, and it was sold on four and 
six months' time. The merchants were rather slow 
in payments; but they were very reliable, as they 
obtained enormous profits on small sales. They would 
visit New York city twice a year for the purpose of 
purchasing goods, and they would give their notes on 
sixty or ninety days' time. Under the Safety Fund law 
they were required to have two endorsers, as the peo- 
ple in those early days were not worth much money, 
and there was a consequent lack of confidence. The 
notes issued by the banks, and which passed into circu- 
lation as money, were found to be so very convenient 
that the merchants themselves, in order to obtain 
change in sums less than one dollar, issued shinplas- 
ters, redeemable in sums of one or more dollars. This 
method of making small change was introduced in 


1840. But there was no great amount of security in 
the shinplasters, as they were issued simply on the 
credit of the merchant ; and the people took them at 
their own risk. A large amount of worthless paper 
money, issued both by banks and individuals, was 
then in circulation ; and counterfeit money was very 
common. Thompson's Bank Note Detector was issued 
every week, and when a very clever counterfeit ap- 
peared, an "extra" was issued. Each bank had some 
peculiar mark of its own by which it could tell whether 
its bank notes were genuine or counterfeit. 

This was the condition of the money market in 
Syracuse up to 1861, when the civil war broke out, 
bringing hard times and a great stringency in money. 
Gold and silver money became very scarce, as it was 
hoarded by the people, and it was very difficult to ob- 
tain small change in sums less than one dollar. In 
the following year it would frequently occur that one 
would go months at a time without seeing any silver 
currency. The great difficulty in making change in 
1862 is shown in the manner in which the taxes were 
collected for that year. Thomas S. Truair was City 
Treasurer at that time. He was enabled to make 
change for the city taxes which were due in October, 
as he had thoughtfully provided himself with small 
change for that occasion. But he foresaw that he 
would be unable to procure sufficient small change 
for such part of the county tax as would come into 


his hands for collection in December. Mr. Trnair, as 
City Treasurer, applied to the Common Council for 
authority to issue a form of bank note called a cor- 
poration order, similar to those which were then 
issued by other cities. One of these corporation 
orders reads as follows : "Treasurer of the corporation 
of the village of Rondout, pay to the bearer twenty- 
five cents at the Bank of Rondout when like orders 
are presented in amounts of one or more dollars. By 
order of the Board of Trustees." This was signed by 
the President and Clerk of the village, and dated 
October 1, 1862. 

But the Common Council of Syracuse, after look- 
ing into the matter, decided that it had no authority 
to issue corporation orders. After consulting with 
Frank Hiscock, who was then District Attorney, and 
who afterwards became United States Senator, Mr. 
Truair decided to issue some shinplasters on his indi- 
vidual account. The plan which he originated was 
worked out by George J. Gardner, who was then 
Cashier of the Onondaga Bank. This plan resulted 
in the issuing of shinplasters which read as follows : 
' ' Bank of Salina, pay to the bearer in current funds 
fifty cents when presented in sums of one or more 
dollars. Secured by special deposit." These shin- 
plasters were signed by Thomas S. Truair, and they 
were numbered and dated Syracuse, N. Y., November 
1, 1862. They were issued in amounts of five, ten, 


twenty-five and fifty cents. The method of issuing 
them was very simple. The shinplasters were litho- 
graphed by Hatch & Company of New York, and 
they were all sent direct to the Bank of Salina. Mr. 
Truair borrowed $1,000, which he deposited in the 
Onondaga County Savings Bank. He was given a 
certificate of deposit for that amount and turned it 
over to the Bank of Salina, where he received shin- 
plasters to the amount of $1,000. These shinplasters, 
thus secured by this certificate of deposit, were gladly 
received by the other city banks, the railroads, the 
Internal Revenue, the postoffice and city departments 
in sums of $100. After thus receiving $1,000 for 
the shinplasters, Mr. Truair returned his borrowed 

The plan succeeded so well that the shinplasters 
drove out of circulation the individual notes of the 
merchants. Very few of the more responsible men 
in Syracuse did not issue similar notes, because it was 
almost impossible to obtain small change. The people 
would even buy postage stamps and use them for 
change, but the postage stamps would stick together 
and thus became very inconvenient. The shinplas- 
ters issued by Mr. Truair, amounting in all to about 
$5,000 and issued for about six months, enabled the 
City Treasurer to make small change which was uni- 
versally accepted for money. They were greatly pre- 
ferred to the shinplasters of the merchants, which 
were generally prepared in a cheap manner, being 

merchants' shinplasters 57 

simply printed on a card and signed by the merchant. 
There were a great many counterfeits of the mer- 
chants' shinplasters. Thomas Rice, a grocer of Syra- 
cuse, James Frazee & Company, millers of Baldwins- 
ville, and Tnomas S. Truair, were almost the only 
ones in this county who used lithographing in making 
their shinplasters. 

It took some little time for the postage currency, 
which the Government first issued in 1862, to find its 
way into general circulation ; but when it did come it 
superseded all other forms of obtaining fractional 
currency. The Government shinplasters continued in 
circulation until the resumption of specie payment in 
1879. It is now a rarity to see the shinplasters issued 
by the Government. In the early times it was quite 
frequent to see advertisements prepared by merchants 
to resemble shinplasters and bank notes. A great 
many of such advertisements were fraudulently passed 
upon foreigners as money. At length a law was 
passed which prevented the issuing of bank notes, 
excepting by national banks, and also all forms of 
fractional currency. When the Government called 
in its shinplasters by resuming specie payments, the 
people showed their appreciation by gladly accepting 
the silver money in place of the paper money. In 
redeeming the shinplasters, it is said that there has 
been about $7,000,000 of the shinplasters either lost 
or destroyed; so that the Government is just so much 



The recent stringency in the money market re- 
calls the fact that during the great periods of finan- 
cial stringency, leading up to panics that have swept 
over the country, leaving business ruins in their 
track, Syracuse has been able to continue her wonted 
industries and mercantile operations with very little 
of individual disaster to mark the time as one of 
peril. The banking institutions of this city have been 
managed with an exceptionally high degree of finan- 
cial ability. In the early days of business transac- 
tions in this city, especially in the village of Salina, 
where the salt industry was centred, there was very 
little money in circulation. Salt was the staple article 
used in bartering for produce, clothing, household 
utensils and everything that was needed. It did not 
require much capital for its operation, while the re- 
turns were sure and continuous. The State required 
a certain quantity of salt to be constantly kept in the 
storehouse, provided by the Superintendent of the 










Onondaga Salt Springs, in order to meet the demands 
of the citizens of the State who depended on obtain- 
ing their supply from the salt reservation. It was 
sometimes customary for the Salt Superintendent to 
give certificates for deposits of salt in the public store- 
house, and these certificates passed from one to 
another as cash, so that the public storehouse in sub- 
stance became a bank. 

The first bank to be organized in this county was 
the Onondaga County Bank, which was chartered in 
1830, with a capital of $150,000. When organized, it 
was located at the east end of the east wing of the 
Syracuse House in East Genesee street. It was after- 
wards located in the second floor, northwestern cor- 
ner, of the old bank building, corner of South Salina 
and Washington streets, where the White Memorial 
Building now stands. Its first President was Oliver 
R. Strong of Onondaga Hill, father of Col. John M. 
Strong, Canal Collector for the port of Syracuse ; and 
its first Cashier was Moses S. Marsh of Pompey, 
father-in-law of Edward S. Dawson, President of the 
Onondaga County Savings Bank. In 1839 Mr. Marsh 
became President, and Hamilton White was made 
Cashier. Mr. Marsh was succeeded by Oliver Teall, 
father of Col. William W. Teall, who is the father of 
Oliver Sumner Teall, famous in New York city as an 
eccentric individual. Mr. White continued as Cashier. 
George J. Gardner, Oliver Teall's son-in-law, who 


entered this bank in 1843, as a Bookkeeper, became 
Teller, and Charles Tucker was made Bookkeeper. 
These officers remained in the bank until the expira- 
tion of its charter in 1854, when the banking business 
was continued by Mr. White as a private banker. 
Some of the directors in this bank, aside from the 
officers already mentioned, were Horace White, John 
Wilkinson, Moses D. Burnet, Johnson Hall, Thomas 
D. Davis, Hiram Putnam, Harvey Rhoades, David 
S. Colvin and James R. Lawrence. 

The Bank of Salina was chartered in 1832, with a 
capital of $150,000. Its first President was Nathan 
Munro of Camillus, and its first Cashier was Ashbel 
Kellogg, the father of ex-Lieut-Gov. Thomas G. 
Alvord's first wife. The directors at an early date 
were Dean Richmond, William Clark, David Munro 
of Camillus and Daniel Kellogg of Skaneateles. At 
the death of Nathan Munro, Ashbel Kellogg became 
President and Miles W. Bennett, formerly of Ca- 
millus, became Cashier. Mr. Kellogg continued as 
President till 1845, when he removed to Michigan, 
where he died in 1848. He was succeeded by David 
Munro of Camillus. The largest stockholder in this 
bank was Daniel Kellogg of Skaneateles, who was 
also President of the Bank of Auburn. In 1S51-52, 
the date of the first city directory, the officers were : 
David Munro, President; Miles W. Bennett, Cashier; 
Timothy Brown, Teller; Walter C. Hopkins, Book- 


keeper and Discount Clerk. The city directory of 
1854-55 gives these officers: David Munro, Presi- 
dent ; James Lynch, Vice-President ; Timothy Brown, 
Cashier; T. J. Leach, Teller, and John H. Slaven, 
Bookkeeper. Mr. Brown removed to Madison, Wis., 
the following year, and he was succeeded by Cornelius . 
L. Alvord. The city directory for 1856-57 gives the 
following officers : President, vacant ; Cashier, James 
Munro; Teller, T. J. Leach; Directors, Robert Town- 
send, John Rice, Lewis H. Redfield, John B. Burnet, 
James Noxon, Allen Munro, Joseph Battel, James 
Munro, James M. Munro and Isaac Hill. Thomas 
G. Alvord became a director the following year. In 
1859, James Monroe became President and George 
B. Leonard became Cashier. 

The Bank of Salina was originally located at the 
corner of North Salina and Wolf streets. It was 
afterwards moved into what was known in the old 
city directories as 15 South Salina street, about where 
A. W. Palmer now has his clothing store, between 
Genesee and Washington streets. The charter expired 
in 1864, when the business was succeeded by the 
Third National Bank. Of all the names mentioned 
above as being connected with these two early banks, 
the only ones now engaged in banking business, and 
almost the only ones now living, are George B. 
Leonard, Cashier of the First National Bank, and 
Thomas J. Leach, Cashier of the Salt Springs 


National Bank, though, Thomas G. Alvord was the 
first President of the Salt Springs National Bank. The 
Third National Bank, successor to the Bank of Salina, 
was organized with James Munroe, President, and 
Francis H. Williams, Cashier. 

Another of the early banks, and one closely allied 
with the other two, was the Bank of Syracuse, 
chartered in 1839 with a capital of $-200,000. It was 
located in the second floor, southwestern corner of 
the old bank building, corner of South Salina and 
Washington streets, where the White Memorial 
Building now stands. Its first officers were John 
Wilkinson, President, and Horace White, Cashier. 
Mr. White was the father of Andrew D. White, 
ex-President of Cornell University. Upon the death 
of Mr. Wilkinson, September 19, 1802, Hamilton 
White became President ; and he was succeeded for a 
short time by John H. Cheddell, and he by Andrew 
D. White. In 1856, Horace White was succeeded 
as Cashier by Orrin Ballard. The bank continued 
business until 1865, when it was reorganized as the 
Syracuse National Bank and continued as such until 
1877, when it closed its affairs and retired from 

The Onondaga County Bank and the Bank of 
Salina were chartered under the Safety Fund system, 
which was first authorized in 1829. Every bank 
belonging to that system received a special act of 


in corporation from the Legislature. These charters 
were for a limited period, generally having about 
twenty years to run. That system was regulated by 
a general law, which was incorporated into every 
charter, by which each bank was required to have all 
its capital paid in before it commenced business; and 
it was also required annually to contribute one-half 
of one per centum upon its capital to a common fund, 
deposited with the State Treasurer, until such fund 
should amount to three per centum upon the capital 
of each bank. This fund was denominated the Bank 
Fund, and was to be applied to the payment of the 
debts of any insolvent bank contributing to the same ; 
and, in case the fund was at any time diminished by 
payments from it, the banks were again required to 
make their annual contributions, till each had in 
deposit the three per centum on its capital stock. This 
fund, in common parlance, was called the Safety 
Fund, which finally gave name to the system. 

There was so much political influence mixed up 
with the Safety Fund Bank, preventing the establish- 
ment of any bank that was not in accord with the 
leading politicians, that the Free Bank system, as it 
was styled, was established in 1838. The Bank of 
Syracuse was chartered under the new system. By 
this system every individual and association was 
authorized to engage in the business of banking, 
and on depositing with the Comptroller the stocks of 


the United States or of any State which should be or be 
made equal to a five per centum stock, or such stocks, 
and bonds and mortgages to the same amount or less, 
on improved, productive and unincumbered real estate, 
worth double the amount secured by the mortgage, 
over and above all buildings thereon, and bearing an 
interest of at least six per centum per annum, the 
Comptroller was required to deliver to such individual 
or association an equal amount of bank notes for 
circulation. Associations under this law were a 
species of corporation. But there was nothing in the 
act that required individual bankers to deposit any 
particular amount of securities before they com- 
menced business. The country was then flooded with 
stock from almost every State, and the consequence 
was that numerous banks sprung into existence under 
this law. Repudiation soon followed. Many States, 
that did not repudiate, failed to meet their obliga- 
tions, confidence was impaired, credit was shaken, 
and stocks generally depreciated in the market. The 
consequence was that many banks failed. 

The time when these pioneer banks were chartered 
was a period in which banking capital could be em- 
ployed very profitably and to the great advantage of 
the public. The bank stock books were open to the 
public, and anyone could subscribe for as much stock 
as he wanted. It frequently happened that the sub- 
scriptions exceeded the capital stock. The State 


Comptroller then allotted a pro rata share of the stock 
to each subscriber. Of course a man of sufficient 
means could buy up the stock of other men, and thus 
obtain control of the bank. The three early banks of 
this city were ably managed, and they were successful. 



The Syracuse Academy, knowledge of which is 
fast passing into a tradition, was once a celebrated 
school of learning, and it rivaled the celebrated 
academies at Pompey, Onondaga Valley, Elbridge 
and other towns in this county. It was located 
in East Fayette street, commonly called Academy 
street, directly in the rear of the present Onondaga 
County Orphan Asylum, which faces East Genesee 
street. After the Academy building had passed into 
the hands of the Orphan Asylum in 1846, and the new 
asylum building was completed in 1885, the old 
academy building was torn down and the brick taken 
to Geddes. The brick was used in building the Butler 
Manufacturing Company's building, erected in West 
Fayette street, between the old Thomson's Infirmary 
and the Onondaga Pottery Company. The building, 
as it now stands in Geddes, closely resembles in its 
construction the old academy building. When first 
built for an academy it was a three-story building, 



the design being to add wings, but afterwards a fourth, 
story was added. The academy building was long 
and narrow, though strongly built, and it had a 
cupola in which there was a bell. The grounds were 
large and laid out in a beautiful manner, the walks 
sloping from Lodi hill, or Academy hill as it was 
called, to the streets on either side. 

The Syracuse Academy was incorporated by act 
of Legislature, dated April 28, 1835, the incor- 
porators being Oliver Teall, Harvey Baldwin, 
Aaron Burt, William I. Dodge, Thomas Spencer, 
Lewis H. Redfield, Elihu L. Phillips, Thomas Rose 
and S. W. Cadwell. The President of the Board of 
Trustees was Harvey Baldwin, the Clerk, or Secretary, 
was Lewis H. Redfield, and the Treasurer was Thomas 
Rose. The land was purchased by the institution 
May 25, 1835, from Aaron Burt and Harvey Baldwin 
for $1,000, and it is described as being in the village 
of Lodi, now Syracuse, commencing on the south line 
of Third South street (now East Fayette street) eight 
rods east of Chestnut street (now Crouse avenue) and 
running easterly sixteen rods on the south line of 
Third South street, and thence southerly twelve rods. 
In the deed it was provided that the land should be 
used for the sole and only purpose of having enclosed 
thereon an academy or other buildings for the instruc- 
tion of youth and the diffusion and promotion of 
literature and science, and when not so used or 


otherwise appropriated the land, with the appurten- 
ances, should revert to Messrs. Burt and Baldwin, 
unless the institution should pay $1,500. 

The academy grounds were part of a purchase of 
sixty acres made by Harvey Baldwin shortly after he 
came to Syracuse from Onondaga Valley in 1826. 
The land was formerly a farm owned by Rufus Stan- 
ton, who had before 1810 cultivated thrifty fields of 
wheat near the Salina street bridge over the Oswego 
canal, and who kept a tavern in 1811 just south of 
the site of the bridge on the east side of the street. 
Mr. Baldwin sold one-third of the land to Mr. Burt, 
and another third to Oliver Teall, and the land was 
known as the Baldwin, Burt and Teall tract. In 
those early days all that portion of the city lying 
between Mulberry street and Lodi on the south side 
of the canal was an unclaimed cedar swamp. The 
present Fayette Park was then a favorite resort for 
foxes, rabbits and wild fowl, forming a capital sport- 
ing ground. The Genesee turnpike passed through 
this unhealthy swamp, and it consisted of an ill laid 
corduroy road that tested the strength of the horses 
and wagons, and the skill and moral training of all 
teamsters and passengers having occasion to pass that 
way. It was the purpose of the purchasers of this 
tract to build on the highlands of Lodi a city which 
should rival Syracuse. 

The year 1835, in which the academy was started, 


was chiefly notable in the village of Syracuse, whose 
population in 1830 was 6,929, for the introduction of 
paved streets, the result of the vote of the citizens 
being to pave Salina street between Fayette and 
Churdh (now Willow) streets. In that year also the 
bounds of the original village were considerably en- 
larged. But there was a great need of educational 
advantages for the youth. The children of such 
parents as could afford it were sent to the academies 
at Onondaga Valley or Pompey or Utica, or to some 
of the colleges. Syracuse was in need of an academy 
of her own. Through the exertions of Messrs. Bald- 
win, Teall and Burt and some others friendly to the 
cause of education, the charter for the Syracuse 
Academy was obtained. Under many discouraging 
embarrassments the building was completed in the 
fall of 1835, and the academy was opened in January 
of the following year. It was supplied with compe- 
tent teachers and supported by the benefactions of the 
citizens, besides drawing its share of the educational 
funds of the State. The academy was well supplied 
with educational facilities, and it had a fine library, 
many of the books coming from the parish library of 
the old St. Paul's Church. Richard A. Yoe, agent of 
the Austin Myers estate, is probably the only one of 
the original stockholders now living. 

The first principal of the academy was a Mr. 
Kellogg, who came from New York. The next 


principal, and the one that gave most distinction to 
the academy, as he was an excellent instructor, was 
Oren Root, the father of Elihu Root, the distinguished 
lawyer of New York, and of the Rev. Oren Root, 
Professor of Mathematics in Hamilton College. Prin- 
cipal Root taught mathematics and the classics. His 
assistant during the first part of his principal&hip was 
Albert G. Salisbury, who afterwards taught in the 
district school built in 1839 on the ground occupied 
by the old Putnam school and who became the first 
clerk of the Board of Education. Mr. Salisbury was 
succeeded as teacher by Joseph A. Allen, an excellent 
disciplinarian, who taught English branches. When 
Mr. Root went to Hamilton College about 1844, where 
he became Professor of Mathematics, Mr. Allen was 
made Principal. His assistant was Oliver T. Burt, 
son of Aaron Burt, and he taught mathematics and 
the classics. J. B. Clark was at one time one of the 
teachers. Miss Frisbee was at one time principal of 
the female department, and she was a highly cultured 
woman. She was succeeded by Miss Buttrick, a sister 
of Mrs. Oren Root. During the time that Mr. Allen 
was principal, the academy was discontinued, and 
Mr. Allen and Mr. Burt opened a private school in 
the brick building on the west side of Mulberry street, 
corner of East Washington street, just south of the 
blacksmith shop. 

The instructors of the Syracuse Academy were men 


and women of more than ordinary ability. Almost 
all the men afterwards became distinguished. Mr. 
Root was a fine mathematician, and he is remembered 
by the graduates of the academy, as well as of 
Hamilton College, as one of the best of instructors. 
Mr. Allen, who married Lucy Burt, daughter of 
Aaron Burt, afterwards kept a music store in Syra- 
cuse, under the firm name of Allen & Phelps. He 
returned to Massachusetts, where be became dis- 
tinguished as a teacher, meeting with great success. 
He is now living at Westborough, Mass. But the 
Syracuse Academy was not a success financially. It 
was built on the college dormitory plan, but the 
pupils came almost entirely from Syracuse. After 
a few years the enterprise of the people began to be 
aroused, jealousies in reference to the academy being 
a speculation for building up the village of Lodi were 
awakened, and district school houses sprang up and 
were patronized. In those days every one, who 
sought the gratification of political ambition or to 
enact a part on the stage of life with a view to the 
applause of his fellow men, hastened to mount the 
common school hobby, as it was called, for education 
had become a hobby. The result was that the common 
schools and the free schools profited by the popular 
agitation, and the Syracuse Academy went into a 

The Trustees of the Syracuse Academy executed 


a mortgage, June 22, 1836, to The Syracuse Company, 
the owners of the greater part of the village of Syra- 
cuse, for $3,000. The conditions expressed in the 
deed or the reversionary interest retained by Messrs. 
Burt and Baldwin were removed in favor of The 
Syracuse Company for one dollar, the mortgage being 
acknowledged July 2, 1842, and recorded five days 
thereafter. This mortgage was foreclosed May 22, 
1845, the principal and interest then amounting to 
$4,398.83. John Townsend of Albany, one of the 
members of The Syracuse Company, bid in the prop- 
erty for $2,000, and he sold it to the Onondaga County 
Orphan Asylum, March 18, 184G, for $3,000. Bradley 
Cary and Herman H. Phelps, who did the carpenter 
work on the academy, were judgment creditors subse- 
quent to the mortgage, as appeared at the time of 
the foreclosure. The stockholders of the Syracuse 
Academy waived all their rights in favor of the 
Orphan Asylum. Although the Academy was not a 
financial success, it was an excellent school, and it 
educated many of the children of the early settlers, 
who have become prominent citizens of this and 
other cities. 

THE RECRUITING STATION.-From a recent photograph. 



On the south side of West Water street, between 
Clinton and Franklin streets, there recently stood a 
two-story stone building, the first stone building 
erected in the village of Syracuse ; and it remained 
till recently in almost the same appearance as when 
first erected by Judge James Webb. This building 
was one of the most historic landmarks of what was 
once the village of Syracuse, though the present 
location seems strangely out of place, as it is now in 
the centre of the wholesale trade. The building was 
owned and occupied as a dying and scouring works 
by Mrs. Eliza Smith, widow of Alexander Smith who 
died in 1890. It was built of Onondaga blue lime 
stone. The walls were almost two feet in thickness, 
the owner evidently intending that his home should 
indeed be his castle, capable of withstanding the 
bloody onslaught of the Indian or the bombardment 
of the more civilized soldier. 



Timothy C. Cheney in his "Reminiscences of Syra- 
cuse," published in pamphlet form in 1857, says: 
"Judge Webb built the stone house lately used as a 
United States recruiting office on Water street in 
1824, and occupied it as a dwelling house." The 
records in the County Clerk's office show that the 
lot whereon this building stood, 42 feet frontage, "was 
purchased September 3, 1829, for $127.28, by James 
Webb from Moses D. Burnet, who was the trustee of 
The Syracuse Company, and who received his deed of 
trust June 18, 1825. The Syracuse Company was 
formed in May 1824, having purchased the Walton 
Tract, and being composed of William James of 
Albany, who owned five-eighths; Isaiah Townsend 
and John Townsend of Albany, who owned two- 
eighths; and James McBride of New York, who 
owned one-eighth. In 1819, when the ultimate success 
of the Erie canal was assured, Judge Joshua Forman, 
the founder of Syracuse, removed from Onondaga 
Valley to Syracuse and built a residence about on the 
site of the present wholesale grocery store of G. N. 
Crouse & Company, being on the northeast corner of 
the block in which the Smith dye house is located. In 
1821 there was but one store in Syracuse, excepting 
two or three small groceries, and it was kept by Gen- 
eral Amos P. Granger, who came from Onondaga 

Among the list of business men who settled in 


Syracuse up to 1825, as mentioned in "Clark's Onon- 
daga," the name of James Webb does not appear. But 
it does appear that Mr. Webb, at the first meeting for 
the election of officers of the village of Syracuse, held 
May 3, 1825, was elected one of the three Assessors. 
The population of Syracuse in 1825 was 600. James 
Webb was engaged in the storage and forwarding 
business, bis store being located on the west end of 
wbat is now the Onondaga County Savings Bank 
building, directly opposite the Syracuse House. He 
sold the residence June 11, 1832, to John F. Wyman, 
the consideration being $1,650. 

One of Judge Webb's daughters married Horace 
Wheaton, who was elected to the Assembly in 1834 
and who was appointed Mayor of Syracuse by the 
Common Council in 1851, Moses D. Burnet having 
declined to qualify. Another daughter married Col. 
George T. M. Davis, a lawyer by profession, who was 
for some years under Dr. William Kirkpatrick, the 
Superintendent of the Salt Springs at Salina. Colonel 
Davis afterwards removed to Louisville, Ky., where 
he became a prominent newspaper man, being the 
editor of the Louisville Commercial and the rival of 
George D. Prentiss. He became Colonel in the Mexi- 
can war, and afterwards located in New York city, 
where he became an authority on financial questions. 
His daughter married George Francis Train, whose 
remarkable and eccentric history is well known 


throughout the entire country. Judge Webb moved 
from Syracuse, about the time he sold his residence, 
to Alton, Ills., in the wilds of the wilderness; and 
there he died. 

John F. Wyman, the second owner of this old stone 
building, established the Syracuse Advertiser in 1825, 
in company with Thomas B. Barnum, who, however, 
soon withdrew and was succeeded by Norman Rawson. 
The Advertiser was continued by Rawson & Wyman 
until the autumn of 182G, when the firm dissolved, 
Mr. Wyman continuing alone until the spring of 
1829. The Onondaga Journal, published at Onondaga 
Hill by Vivus W. Smith, was then united with the 
Advertiser under the name of the Onondaga Standard, 
the publishers being Wyman & Smith. Silas F. 
Smith, brother of Vivus W. Smith, says that he lived 
with his brother, Vivus, who was older than himself, 
in the old stone building, erected by Judge Webb. 
Mr. Wyman sold a half interest in the property, 
December 5, 1833, to Henry Ogden Irving, who lived 
in Orange, Essex county, New Jersey, for $1,150. 
The other half was sold to Mr. Irving December 5, 
1834, at the same price. Mr. Irving sold the property 
February 17, 1853, to George Everson and Giles 
Everson, the consideration being $2,500. The Everson 
brothers, both residents of Syracuse, dealt quite ex- 
tensively in real estate in those days. They sold the 
property May 10, 1854, for $2,700 to Anstis Slattery, 


a woman who made "her mark " on the deed recording 
the sale of the property. The next owner of this 


historic residence was Jefferson Phillips, a blacksmith, 
who purchased it April 7, 1856, for $2,700. He sold 
it to Huldah Bradley, wife of Christopher C. Bradley, 
April 5, 1857, for the consideration of $2,800. 

Mr. Bradley settled in Syracuse about 1822, and 
for many years he was the head of a thriving foundry 
business. He held the office of Village Trustee, 
County Treasurer and other responsible positions. 
His sons, Christopher C. and Waterman C, founded 
the business of Bradley & Company, manufacturers of 
power hammers and carriages. The Bradley family 
in those early days lived on the lot directly west of 
the stone building erected by James Webb, the place 
till recently being occupied by the wholesale hardware 
store of Robert McCarthy & Son. At that time the 
south side of West Water street was occupied by 
residences and was considered a desirable location. 
The stone building was sold July 1, 18(32, to Wheeler 
Armstrong, a large iron manufacturer of Rome, the 
price of the property being $2,000. Mr. Bradley was 
the agent for the property till September 13, 1865, 
when the next and the present owner became Eliza 
Smith, wife of Alexander Smith. The property was 
sold for $2,500. 

For many years prior to 1851-52 this old stone 
building was used as a recruiting station. The massive 


strength of its walls, unusually strong for a residence, 
made it especially well adapted for this soldier-like 
occupation. The building was a two-story one with 
a strongly built cellar, which could on occasion be 
used as a guard room for refractory soldiers ; and the 
walls, nearly two feet thick, offered an excellent defence 
should it so happen that they were to be put to that 
use. It is remembered by the old residents of this city 
that this building was used by the government as a 
recruiting station as far back as the Mexican war and 
even prior thereto, probably as early as 1835, after 
Mr. Wyman had sold the property to Mr. Irving. 
Among those graduates of West Point who were 
placed in command of this recruiting station were 
Captain John C. Robinson of the Eighth U. S. Infantry, 
who became a Brigadier General in the army, com- 
manding the third brigade of the first division of the 
first corps, and who eventually became Lieutenant 
Governor of this State. Lieutenant Christopher C. 
Auger was another officer in charge ; and he became 
distinguished in the army, rising to the rank of a 
Major General. Lieutenant ''Bonny" Phillips was an- 
other officer in charge. He was removed to Texas and 
died in New Orleans. Lieutenant Russell, afterwards 
a General in the army, was another officer remembered 
as one of those who had charge of this recruiting 
station. Lieutenant Kirby Smith, afterwards a Colonel 
in the Mexican war, was another officer in charge of 
this station. 


George Murray, now deceased, rented this building 
in 1851-52, and he used it as a dye house, to which 
use it was ever afterwards put. In the spring of 1861, 
Mr. Murray sold out his business to Alexander Smith, 
who rented the building until September 13, 18G5, 
when his wife purchased the property. Mrs. Smith 
says that one day Mr. Bradley, the agent for Mr. 
Armstrong of Rome, told her husband that he would 
give him just one hour in which to decide whether to 
purchase the property or not. By purchasing the 
property Mrs. Smith became possessed of the first 
stone building erected in the village of Syracuse, an 
old and historic landmark, and a valuable piece of 

Col. John M. Strong, Canal Collector, says that 
he well remembers James Webb as a fine-looking, 
well-built man, six feet in height and a man of means 
and prominence in the early history of Syracuse. 
Judge Webb owned a farm in Onondaga Hill. His 
brother, Jabez Webb, who was a Supervisor, owned 
an adjoining farm; and he was killed at the raising 
of a mill on his farm. Jabez Webb had two sons, 
John and Ezra, the former locating in Cicero, where 
his descendants are now living, and the latter locating 
in the western part of the State. James Webb's two 
daughters, mention of whom has already been made, 
were attractive, beautiful young ladies, the belles of 
Onondaga Hill. Mr. Webb became clerk of the 


Board of Supervisors when he came to Syracuse, an 
important position which he held for some years 
thereafter. He removed to Alton, 111., with his son- 
in-law, George T. M. Davis, who became member of 
Congress from that district. Mr. Webb sold his farm 
to Rodger Billings, who gave Billings Park to the 
city ; and Mr. Billings sold the farm to Judge Oliver 
R. Strong. In 1842, after the old Webb farm had 
been owned by Judge Strong two years, Judge Webb 
returned to Syracuse for a visit, and then went back 
to Alton, 111., where he died. 

This old landmark was destroyed on the night of 
December 8, 1893. A fire had started in one of the 
adjoining buildings, causing a large brick wall to fall 
upon it. Little was saved from the ruins excepting 
the eastern wall. Another building, similar in design, 
was erected in the course of a few months. 


THE ALVORD BUILDING.— From a recent photograph. 



As a reminder of the important part which the 
village of Salina once took in the prosperity of New 
York State, greater comparatively than the part now 
taken by the city of Syracuse, the student of that 
early history finds a lasting monument in the old 
Alvord building, now standing on the northeasterly 
corner of North Salina and Exchange streets. When 
this building was erected in 1808 by Elisha Alvord 
and his brother Dioclesian, it stood on the corner of 
Free street, through which the Oswego canal now 
passes, and Canal street, which is now called North 
Salina street. It is the first brick building erected 
within the present limits of Syracuse and one of the 
oldest landmarks in this part of the State. Ex-Lieut- 
Gov. Thomas G. Alvord, son of Elisha Alvord who 
settled at Salt Point in 1794, says that this old build- 
ing to-day is the strongest and most durable building 
in Syracuse, as its walls are two feet thick up to the 
first story and eighteen inches thick from there to the 



roof, while the joist and other parts of the woodwork 
are still in an excellent condition. The building, built 
upon honor, cost a small sum as compared with the 
prices now paid for similar structures, because of the 
low price then paid for labor and material, about 
fifty per centum less than at the present day. The 
brick were made by David Marshall on the banks of 
the Yellow Brook, near where it crossed South Salina 
street, between Jefferson and Onondaga streets; and 
the stone in the cellar were quarried in the line of 
what is now Center street, in the First ward. 

The Alvord brothers kept a hotel in this building 
till 1813, when they dissolved partnership, the building 
coming into the possession of Elisha Alvord. The next 
occupant was Major Ryder, commonly called Bull 
Ryder, who kept a hotel there till the building was 
sold to William Clark in the early 20's. Mr. Clark 
not only bought this building, but also considerable 
land in front of it, including what is now Exchange 
street and the lot directly oj^posite, where the State salt 
building was afterwards erected, the purchase price 
being $12,000. When Exchange street was opened in 
1828 the appraisers valued "the interest of William 
Clark in said street at $27!)," and further appraised 
" the value of the land in front of William Clark at 

Mr. Clark was one of the most prominent merchants 
at that early day, keeping a store of general merchan- 


dise and dealing largely in salt. In 1828 lie built an 
addition to the building, extending it to the canal. 
He afterwards rented part of the building on Exchange 
street as a drug store to Dr. Proctor C. Sampson and 
Dr. Lyman Clary, two celebrated physicians. Dr. 
Clary's son, 0. Ware Clary, recently kept a rubber 
store in South Salina street, between Washington and 
Fayette streets. This drug store was conducted from 
1832 till nearly 1840, when the store was absorbed in 
Mr. Clark's general store. Mr. Clark at one time took 
into partnership, under the firm name of William 
Clark & Company, Lis brother-in-law, James Beards- 
ley, who afterwards returned to New Orleans, where he 
became the editor of the New Orleans Bee. Ex-Lieut- 
Gov. Alvord, oftentimes called "Old Salt," for the 
great service he rendered Syracuse in protecting the 
salt industry, occupied an office in this old building, 
over the drug store, from 1833 to 1846, excepting three 
years, during which he occupied an office in the State 
building, directly opposite, in partnership with Gen. 
Enos D. Hopping, brother-in-law of Dean Richmond. 
William Clark sold out his business in 1841 to 
Myles W. Bennett and Noadiah M. Childs, who carried 
on the business for five years under the firm name of 
Bennett & Childs. Mr. Childs was the active business 
partner, while Mr. Bennett continued as cashier of the 
Bank of Salina, which stood at the corner of North 
Salina and Wolf streets. Mr. Bennett was succeeded 


by Thomas Earll, son of Judge Nehemiah H. Earll, 
who was member of Congress for two terms from 
Onondaga Hill. Their firm, Childs & Earll, remained 
in business from 1846 till 1849, when Mr. Childs con- 
tinued alone in the old Alvord building till 1856. Mr. 
Childs bought the building from William Clark in 
1853, the purchase price being $4,500. 

After the fire of 1856, which destroyed some six or 
seven acres of buildings and residences, mostly located 
in the block inclosed by Exchange, North Salina, . 
Wolf and Park streets, though there were some build- 
ings destroyed on Wolf and North Salina streets, 
notably the Bank of Salina and the Eagle Hotel, the 
latter being located where E. J. Eddy's store is now 
located, N. M. Childs removed to the Crippen block, 
corner of Park and Wolf streets, which is now occupied 
by H. A. Moyer, the wagon manufacturer. Mr. 
Childs continued in business till 1881. He is now the 
agent for the Dillaye estate, residing at 406 To'wnsend 
street, hale and hearty at the age of 87 years. He 
and ex-Lieut-Gov. Thomas G. Alvord, still in vigor- 
ous health at the age of 84 years, a salt manufacturer, 
residing at 514 Turtle street, are the only survivors 
of the old inhabitants mentioned above. 

The upper floor of the old Alvord building, consist- 
ing of three stories, was used as a public ball room, 
where much dancing was enjoyed in those early days, 
but it was not so used when Mr. Clark occupied the 


building. When N. M. Childs was President of the 
Board of Education in 1858, this upper floor was used 
for a winter school, during the close of canal naviga- 
tion. The young fellows who worked in the salt 
yards and along the canal in those early days — the 
"Salt Pointers," as they were called — enjoyed the 
well-earned reputation of being rather tough, and it 
was a difficult matter to find a school teacher who was 
capable of preserving order. Mr. Childs says that 
Henry A. Barnum, who was afterwards distinguished 
as a General in the civil war, then 25 years old, was 
the teacher in that winter school for one or two 
winters, and that young Barnum proved that he had 
plenty of pluck, and succeeded in governing the 
school, notorious for its being decidedly tough. 

After Mr. Childs moved into the Crippen block in 
1856, the old Alvord building was rented for various 
purposes, though it was mostly vacant. In 1873, the 
building was sold to Albert Freeman and his son, 
Hoyt H. Freeman, then doing business as A. & H. 
H. Freeman, the purchase price being $3,500. That 
firm carried on a pork packing business and dealt in 
flour and feed for dairy purposes, besides owning five 
canal boats. In 1878, the firm dissolved. Hoyt H. 
Freeman carried on business alone at the corner of 
Wolf and North Salina streets, where the Bank of 
Salina was formerly located and where the Freeman 
block now stands. Albert Freeman took into part- 


nership his other son, Horace P. Freeman, under the 
firm name of A. & H. P. Freeman, who conducted a 
salt and feed mill and broom manufactury till 1886, 
when Albert Freeman died. The business was con- 
tinued a year or two afterwards by Horace P. Free- 
man. Hoyt H. Freeman purchased the building, 
after his father's death, and he now uses it as a store 
house, he being of the firm of Freeman & Loomis 
(H. H. Loomis,) manufacturers of willow clothes 
baskets. In 1880 or 1881, Albert Freeman rented a 
portion of the building for an oil stone manufactory 
to Allan H. Gillett, father of William A. Gillett, and 
who is now agent for an oil stone firm in New York 
city. The building was also occupied by a man 
named Billings, a peddler, who kept a rag and tin 
store, and who sold out his business to a man named 
Ay res. 

The history of this old Alvord building, now 
known as the Freeman building, reveals the history 
of Salina, well known throughout the State as Salt 
Point. Prior to the opening of the Oswego canal, 
Free street was the great business thoroughfare of 
the village. The farmers would come from different 
parts of the State — from Oswego and Ogdensburg, 
two important towns on the north, and from Buffalo, 
another equally important town in the west — mostly 
in the winter time; and they would barter their 
provisions for salt. The old people, who lived in those 


early days, and who are now living, can remember 
the time when Free street, from Park to Canal (now 
North Salina) street, was filled with the farmers' 
sleighs. At that early day, the society of Salt Point 
was of a refined, intellectual and literary character. 
After the Oswego canal was opened in 1825, the 
business thoroughfare was moved to Exchange street, 
and most of the business was carried on by canal 
navigation. The early merchants of Salina rented 
the large island at Oswego, covering several acres of 
land, and would use it for storing their salt to be 
shipped westward on the lakes. As the surrounding 
country became more thickly settled, the business 
thoroughfare, after the destructive fire of 1856, was 
moved to Wolf street, because of the building of the 
plank road to Central Square. 

As an example of the fluctuation in the price of 
real estate in Salina, from those early days till now, 
it might be noted that William B. Kirk, the father 
of ex-Mayor William B. Kirk, sought at one time to 
purchase the property where the Kearney brewery 
now stands, at the corner of North Salina and Wolf 
street; but he did not have sufficient money. And so 
he purchased property at the corner of South Salina 
and Fayette streets, then known as a popular tavern, 
afterwards called the Kirk House, and now known 
as one of the finest business blocks in the city, 
called the Kirk block. 



The large, old-fashioned brick house at the south- 
western corner of West Onondaga street and South 
avenue, which was occupied for many years by Vivus 
W. Smith, who, as editor of the Syracuse Journal, 
exerted a very great influence upon the early political 
history of this State, is soon to be torn down by Oscar 
F. Soule and to be replaced by a double dwelling 
house for Mr. Soule and his son, Frank C. Soule. 
This house is one of the earliest houses erected in this 
city, and it is the place where political consultations 
were held between Horace Greeley, editor of the New 
York Tribune, Thurlow Weed, editor of the Albany 
Journal, and Vivus W. Smith, editor of the Syracuse 

The house was erected in a very substantial man- 
ner in 1830, when the village of Syracuse had a 
population of 2,500, by Zophar H. Adams, a builder, 
who had a brick yard between his house and Onon- 
daga creek. Mr. Adams did much of the early village 


THE HOME OF VIVUS W. SMITH.— From a recent photograph. 


jobbing, having teams, wagons and ploughs ; and he 
made roads, carted off rubbish and cleaned the streets. 
He is remembered as the man who made Warren 
street from Jefferson street to Billings Park. His 
was the only house at that time west of the creek. It 
stood on the old Cinder road, built in 1827-28 on low 
land running through a wooded territory, consisting 
principally of oak and hickory, interspersed with 
some hemlock. 

The house was purchased in 1847 by Mr. Smith, 
who lived there until he died in 1881. Its capacity 
was very much enlarged, making it a very roomy and 
pleasant dwelling house. It seemed at the time as 
though Mr. Smith was going into the country, as all 
the territory west of the creek was farm land up to 
1860. -Philo N". Rust, the original landlord of the old 
Syracuse House, who had a national reputation as the 
most celebrated hotel keeper in central New York, had 
a fine garden of fifty acres near by; and John Wilkin- 
son's farm of 120 acres adjoined it on the west. The 
house on the opposite side of the street was occupied 
by the Rev. George H. Hulin, editor of the Religious 
Recorder, afterwards occupied by General Henry W. 
Slocum and now occupied by N. M. White. 

Mr. Smith had moved from the house built by 
Elias W. Leavenworth in East Fayette street, about 
opposite where the Grand Opera House now stands. 
He had formerly lived in Onondaga Hill, where he 


removed in 1827 from Westfield, Mass. When the 
Court House was removed from Onondaga Hill to 
Syracuse in 1829, Mr. Smith moved to Syracuse and 
lived in the house between the one built by Joshua 
Form an, the founder of Syracuse, and the one built 
by James Webb, afterwards known as the recruiting 
station; and here it was, in West Water street, be- 
tween South Clinton and Franklin streets, that Carroll 
E. Smith, the present editor of the Syracuse Journal, 
was born. 

This old landmark, about to give way to modern 
improvements, was a meeting place in the early days 
for all the leading politicians, influential in the Whig 
party in this State. In those early days, it was the 
custom of the political leaders to make tours at least 
once a year throughout the State and visit each 
county seat, calling together their trusted leaders for 
the purpose of discussing campaign issues. William 
L. Marcy, Edward Crosswell, Martin Van Buren 
and other men of national reputation made these 
yearly tours. But it was with William H. Seward, 
Horace Greeley and Thurlow Weed, the great news- 
paper men, that Mr. Smith was most closely intimate. 
They would sometimes come together, though more 
frequently alone, just as one friend would visit 

The most marked man of them all, and certainly 
the most eccentric, was Greeley, whose white hat and 


white coat, with pantaloons of one leg tucked inside 
his boot leg, made him a noted character. Whether 
he affected this peculiarity in his personal appearance 
from design, or whether he was simply careless and 
absent-minded, are matters of conjecture. Another 
peculiarity of this noted man, and one which must 
have caused his host considerable vexation, was his 
insisting upon having a tub of cold water for a bath 
every night, and then literally emptying the water 
upon the carpet during his vigorous efforts to keep 
himself spotlessly clean. 

Thurlow Weed, for more than a quarter of a cen- 
tury, came to Syracuse at least once a year ; and he 
would quietly drive over the old Cinder road and 
renew his acquaintances at Onondaga Valley, where 
he lived when a boy. His father, Joel Weed, was a 
laboring man at Nicholas Mickles' furnace, which 
was located in what is now Elm wood Park; and 
he was a very remarkable man, noted for his 
strong sense and great fund of general information, 
obtained mainly from his devouring the newspaper 
exchanges in the office of Lewis H. Redfield, publisher 
of the Onondaga Register at Onondaga Valley. 

It was in that newspaper office that young Thur- 
low first imbibed his liking for newspaper work. 
When the son was twelve years old, he also worked 
in Mickles' furnace. He afterwards became one of 
the greatest men the country ever produced, being 


called the Maker of Presidents, as Warwick of Eng- 
land was called the Maker of Kings. His first silver 
dollar was earned by selling to Joshua Forman a 
fine salmon, which he caught in Onondaga creek, 
formerly a fine stream of water and abounding in 
salmon and trout. 

Those four newspaper men, who were very close 
friends, were possessed of broad information and great 
knowledge of the world. Mr. Smith was naturally a 
very reticent man and apparently cold, but when 
among his friends he would be companionable, humor- 
ous and an entertaining conversationalist. He was a 
great student of various branches of knowledge, and 
much given to scientific investigation. Greeley and 
Weed had great confidence in him; so much so that 
when they were absent on their European trips they 
would entrust the editing of their papers to him ; and 
Mr. Smith would edit the New York Tribune or the 
Albany Journal, as the case might be. After the 
break between Seward and Greeley in 1860, Smith 
went with Seward and Weed. The characteristic of 
Smith in his newspaper work was his clear, forcible 
editorial expressions. He was a journalist for fifty 
years, and he was recognized as one of the strongest 
writers in the State. 

In those days an editor would write from one to 
three editorials a week, which would fill about as many 
columns of his newspaper. The papers were all mod- 



eled after the papers of Europe. There was very little 
of local news in them, as a reference to the old files 
will clearly show. The first paper to establish the 
local column was the Syracuse Journal, the plan orig- 
inating with Edward Cooper in 1846. when that paper 
was published by Barnes. Smith ck: Cooper, consisting 
of Henry Barnes. Augustus S. Smith (brother •: i ^' 
W. Smith) and Edward Cooper. Mr. Weed of the 
Albany Journal originated the short paragraph in 
journalism, which is now the most effective weapon. 
>ley of the Xew York Tribune effected the long 
and elaborate editorial, which was very convincing in 
its argument. He originated the "em" at the 
commencement of each paragraph. And it m:. 
added that while he was very careless in his dres- he 
was exceedingly careful of his manuscript, though his 
handwriting, to one unaccustomed to it. was very dif- 
ficult to read. There were many italicised wr. Is used 
in those days, but the modern:; - _ machines 

have no italics. Seward was connected with Weed in 
the Albany Journal, and he became distinguished 
through his State papers while he was Secretary of 
State under President Lincoln. 

It has been noticed that this old hous 
really a mansion, s a and roomy - . was 

never painted. Some of the bricks were of the nat- 
ural color, some were painted, some were mv 
and some were those which had been in thv rig 


part built by Mr. Adams. Mr. Smith was frequently 
joked about the outside appearance of his house ; but 
as he had no pride for outward show, he refused to 
paint it, saying it was good enough for him, though 
he sometimes threatened to paint it a sky blue, that it 
might be different from other houses. His widow, 
Theodora M. Smith, died in 1893. His newspaper, 
through which he gained his great reputation as a 
politician and journalist of the highest rank, is now 
edited and managed by his son, Carroll E. Smith. 

Vivus W. Smith, the most distinguished news- 
paper writer of Syracuse, was born in Lanesborough, 
Mass., January 27, 1804. After a short experience 
in a newspaper office at Westfield, Mass., he came to 
Onondaga Hill in 1827, and bought out the Onon- 
daga Journal, which he published till 1829, when he 
removed to Syracuse. In company with John F. 
Wyman, who had established the Syracuse Advertiser 
in 1825, he established the Onondaga Standard, the 
two papers having been united, and the firm name 
being Wyman & Smith. In 1837 he dissolved his 
connection with the Democratic party and established 
in 1838 a Whig paper, entitled the Western State 
Journal. In 1841, he went to Columbus, Ohio, and 
spent three years there editing the State Journal, a 
Whig paper. He returned to Syracuse and resumed 
the editorship of his former paper, which is now 
called the Svracuse Journal. In the fall of 184(>, lie 


was elected County Clerk, and served for three years. 
He was appointed by Governor Clark in 1855, Super- 
intendent of the Onondaga Salt Springs, which office 
he held for ten years. In 1873, he was appointed 
Canal Appraiser by Governor John A. Dix. Mr. 
Smith married, in 1832, Caroline Earll, the daughter 
of Jonas Earll, jr., of Onondaga Hill, by whom he had 
one son, Carroll E. Smith. His wife died in April, 
1835. In 1839, he married Theodora Morey, daughter 
of David Morey of Syracuse, by whom he had three 
children: Fillmore M., Seward V. and Florence A. 
Mr. Smith died in 1881. 



The three-story brick building on the northwestern 
corner of West Genesee and North Clinton streets, 
part of which has now been torn down so as to widen 
North Clinton street, was considered a very handsome 
building in- the early days. It was known as the 
Dana House, having been built by Deacon Daniel 
Dana, but its correct title was the City Boarding 
House. The residence part at the west of the building 
was connected with the eastern part, under which 
were the stores, and the whole was used for a 
fashionable boarding house. Indeed, it was the most 
fashionable boarding and lodging house in the city. 
In the angle at the extreme eastern part of the 
building, which was cut away when North Clinton 
street was widened in 1858, there was a small building- 
used for a blacksmith shop and various offices. An 
account of this landmark will recall the names of 
several men who were once prominent in the history 
of Syracuse. 


a KSs 

THE CITY BOARDING HOUSE.— From a recent photograph. 


The land whereon the building- stands was originally 
part of the Walton Tract, which was purchased in 
1814 for $9,000 by Forman, Wilson & Company, 
composed of Joshua Forman, Ebenezer Wilson, jr., 
and John B. Creed. Forman & Wilson kept a country 
store in Onondaga Valley. Mr. Creed married Mr. 
Forman's daughter Mary, who, after her husband's 
death, became the wife of Moses D. Burnet. About 
the time of this purchase, Forman, Wilson & Com- 
pany built and started a large slaughter house and 
packing establishment in a grove north of Church 
street (now West Willow street), where a large busi- 
ness was done till 1817. During the latter part of the 
war of 1812 they filled contracts for the army. It 
was their ambition to found a city on the present site 
of Syracuse. But misfortune overtook them ; for the 
Walton Tract was sold by the Sheriff, Jonas Earll, 
jr., October 26, 1818, to Daniel Kellogg and William 
H. Sabin, for $10,915, to satisfy a claim of $10,000, 
(reduced from $15,000,) against Joshua Forman by 
the Bank of America of New York, and a claim of 
$452.62 against the firm by the Ontario Bank of 
Canandaigua." Messrs. Kellogg and Sabin sold the 
two western lots, April 1, 1824, for $350 to William 
Mead, a tailor, and Zina Denison, a wagon maker, 
both of Onondaga. They sold the property to Seth K. 
Akin, of the town of Salina, June 17, 1824, for $850. 
On November 26, 1830, Mr. Akin, then of New 


Bedford, Mass., sold the property to Daniel Dana 
for $1,300. 

Mr. Dana came to the village of Syracuse about 
1824 from Albany, originally from New England, and 
was for a year or two employed as paymaster by the 
Syracuse Salt Company. He then opened a small 
grocery and grain store in the block standing where 
the Clinton block now stands, on the southwestern 
corner of West Genesee and North Clinton streets. 
There he continued in business for several years, till 
his brother, Major Dana, came here and joined him, 
under the firm name of D. & M. Dana. That firm 
built the block of three stores on the northwestern 
corner of Warren and East Water streets, where for 
several years they successfully carried on one of the 
largest grain and country stores in this section of the 
State. Their principal competitor was Joseph Slo- 
cum, who was one of the three Assessors for the 
village during the years 1828-'29-'44 and '45, and who 
was the father of Mrs. Russell Sage of New York 

Mr. Dana, or, as he was generally called, Deacon 
Dana, built his residence on the property he pur- 
chased from Mr. Akin in 1830. This location was 
then considered the best in the village. Several of 
the prominent citizens resided in the neighborhood. 
This brick dwelling house was very grand and stylish 
in its day, especially as it was ornamented with an 


iron railing around the front stone steps. This iron 
work was made by Joseph I. Bradley, an uncle to 
Christopher C. and Waterman C. Bradley, and it was 
the first work of that kind used in the village. And 
it was considered surprising as well as extravagant in 
Deacon Dana that he should build such a fine house, 
as he was very simple in his habits and not given to 
expensive outlay of money. But though the Deacon 
was a close business man, good at driving a bargain 
and careful in expenditures, he was a pompous little 
man, always well dressed in the black swallow-tail 
commonly worn by the gentlemen of those days ; and 
he carried a gold-handled cane with much dignity of 
manner. He was a nervous man, always ready for 
an argument, a close student of the Bible, possessed 
of a large acquaintance throughout the State, and he 
was a prominent member of the First Presbyterian 
Church. He was an enterprising, capable business 
man, though during the last few years of his life he 
became rather eccentric. Mr. Dana does not appear 
to have held any public office, excepting that he was 
an elector for James K. Polk in 1844. He was a 
Democrat of the old school and a strong party man. 
He was an applicant for the postmastership of the 
village at that time, but the office was given to Col. 
William W. Teall, who served from 1845 to 1849. 

On July 8, 1824, Messrs. Kellogg and Sabin sold 
the two eastern lots for $250 to Daniel Hawks, jr., of 


Hannibal, Oswego county. On March 18, 1829, Mr. 
Hawks, then of the town of Clay, sold the property 
for $1,025 to Dr. David S. Colvin, a prominent Dem- 
ocrat, who sold it to John B. Ives, December 5, 1835, 
for $3,400. Mr. Ives was a very successful contractor, 
building railroads and canals, and he resided at James- 
ville. His widow, Mrs. Ann Eliza Ives, daughter of 
B. Davis Noxon, is now living at the Empire House. 
The property was sold by Peter Outwater, jr., one of 
the Masters in Chancery, whose daughter married 
Andrew D. White, ex-President of Cornell University, 
on the claim of John Y. L. Pruyn, a prominent citizen 
of Albany, to Daniel Dana, September 25, 1845, for 

Deacon Dana then erected the brick building, un- 
usually large and handsome for those days, and, con- 
necting it with his dwelling house, rented it to David 
B. Blakely, who kept the City Boarding House. Mr. 
Blakely and all his family were very musical, and 
he frequently gave concerts. He was succeeded by 
James A. Durnford, who for s^reral years kept the 
boarding house. Some of the older and prominent 
residents of this city boarded at that fashionable place. 

Deacon Dana, after dissolving partnership with his 
brother, Major, occupied the two stores for his grain 
and grocery business. But because of his failing 
health, his business was not as thriving as formerly. 
His eccentricities took a religions turn, and he would 


appeal to his friends to make repentance of their sins 
and prepare for the hereafter. His kindly and court- 
eous, though pompous, manners remained with him 
to the last. He died at his residence December 21, 
1858, aged sixty-seven years, and he was buried at 
Rose Hill cemetery. Owing to the infirmities of his 
afflicted widow the funeral was held at the First Bap- 
tist Church, which was near by, the services being con- 
ducted by the Rev. Dr. Sherman B. Canfield, pastor 
of the First Presbyterian Church. Major Dana lived 
several years thereafter. He is remembered as a care- 
ful, methodical business man, though, in his later 
years, much given to buying large quantities of mis- 
cellaneous goods sold at public auction. 

The entire property was sold November 6, 1858, to 
John Ritchie for $11,500. Mr Ritchie was a partner 
with David Leslie, as Ritchie & Leslie, and they kept 
a very fine grocery in Robbers' Row, being succeeded 
by D. & J. Leslie. Mr. Ritchie then retired from 
active business, though he kept the open sheds for 
farmers, on nearly the opposite side of the street, 
which business is now carried on by his son, John 
Ritchie. His daughter is the wife of Wilbur S. Peck. 
The property has since changed hands, part of it being 
sold to the city in widening North Clinton street. 

Deacon Dana had no children. His brother, Major 
Dana, who survived him several years, is survived by 
a daughter, Mrs. Mary Dana Hicks, widow of Charles 


Hicks, who was a promising young attorney. Mrs. 
Hicks was a teacher of drawing in the public schools ; 
and it was her work in this department that brought 
her to the attention of L. Prang & Company, fine 
art publishers of Boston, Mass. She is an artist of 
considerable ability, and she has charge of an art 
department in Prang's art works in Boston, living in 
Cambridge, Mass. 

THE WETGH-LOCK HOUSE— From a recent photograph. 



One of the old landmarks of this city, and one of 
which little has been written, is the weigh-lock house 
at the foot of Market street on East Water street and 
on the heel-path side of the Erie canal. The house, 
a low, long, dingy-looking brick building, was erected 
by the State for the enlargement of the Erie Canal. 
The contract was awarded to William D. Champlain, 
James Thorn and Edward Fuller, and it was dated 
September 28, 1849. Champlain and Thorn did the 
mason work and Fuller was the carpenter. The con- 
tract price was $7,950 with $333.37 as items of extra 
work, making the final estimate $8,283.37. These 
accounts were settled November 19, 1850, so that the 
building was doubtless completed by that time. 

The house stands to-day practically in the same 
condition as when erected, excepting that improve- 
ments were made in the winter of 1892 to the interior 
of the second floor, where the Superintendent of the 
Middle Division, the Superintendent of Section No. 



6, the Division Engineer, and the Resident Engineer 
have their offices. The first floor with the weigh- 
lock on the north side facing the canal presents a 
romantic, picturesque appearance ; and it is here that 
the Canal Collector and his assistant have their 
offices. The Inspector of Boats also has his office on 
this floor. 

The year of 1893 was one of the most prosperous 
seasons known in several years by the boatmen, es- 
pecially on the Erie canal. By far the greater part 
of the merchandise transported by the canal consists 
of grain, stone, clay, lumber, coal and iron and other 
ores. The best year on all the canals was in 18G8, 
when the total movement of articles amounted to 
$305,301,920, representing 6,442,225 tons of freight. 
The amount of produce cleared from Syracuse during 
the season of 1824, four years after the middle section 
of the canal was first opened for navigation, was 
12,065 barrels of flour, 2,802 barrels of provisions, 
2,565 barrels of ashes, 76,031 barrels of salt and 
64,240 bushels of wheat; and the amount of toll 
received at the Syracuse office during that season was 
$18,491.58. It will be seen that the village of Syra- 
cuse as early as 1824 was not only a shipping point 
for salt, the most important product, but also for 
wheat and flour. This was a prosperous wheat-pro- 
ducing county in the early days, and there was some 
thriving flour mills in the vicinity of Syracuse. Since 


1883, tolls have been abolished on the canals, by 
amendment to the State Constitution at the preced- 
ing fall election. During the year of 1893, ending 
September 30, the appropriations from the State for 
constructing and improvements in the middle division 
of the Erie canal were $209,300, showing that con- 
tinued and large expenditures are being made on 
this great and important regulator of railroad freight 

The former Canal Collector's office stood between 
the bridges spanning the junction of the Erie and 
Oswego canals. A foundation of hewn timber was 
laid upon "Goose Island" on the north side of the 
towing-path, and upon this was erected a small frame 
house, which was designated as the Canal Collector's 
office. Dr. David S. Colvin was the Collector in 1824, 
and he employed Benjamin C. Lathrop and B. F. 
Colvin as clerks in his office. The old weigh-lock was 
completed that year. It was built upon an entirely 
different plan from the one now followed ; the weight 
of the boat being determined by measuring the quan- 
tity of water it displaced. Deacon Thomas Spencer 
then owned and occupied the old boat yard near the 
Oswego canal. This boat yard, afterwards owned by 
John Durston and now the site of the Durston block, 
corner of James and Warren streets, was then con- 
sidered out of town, the easiest approach being by 
the tow-path. But it was convenient to both the Erie 


and Oswego canals, the principal part of the business 
consisting in building and repairing the canal boats. 

In 1824, soon after the completion of the Erie 
canal through Syracuse, it was thought necessary to 
have a basin where boats could run in and be out of 
the way of navigation. It was decided to locate the 
basin in what is now the western part of the present 
weigh-lock and extending south half-way to Washing- 
ton street, taking in the former site of the old Market 
Hall, now the northern portion of the City Hall. As 
there was no current in the water that was in the 
basin, the place became a miserable, nasty hole ; and 
it was the dread of all the inhabitants, because it 
tainted and infected the whole atmosphere with 

A little low frame building stood on the bank of 
the basin partly hid by the bushes that grew in great 
profusion in that region. Joseph Thompson kept a 
small grocery in the building, and derived most of his 
custom from the canal boatmen by furnishing them 
with supplies. A small barn stood on the south side 
of the basin, with a path on one side leading into it, 
which was used as a watering place for cattle and 
horses. In those days there was a large number of 
scow-boats used to transport wood for the salt blocks. 
They were not in use more than half of the time, and 
this basin, or frog pond, as it was called, became 
filled with these unsightly craft. Many of them 


were neglected and sunk to the bottom, and they 
were afterwards found by the workmen in excavating 
near the present City Hall. 

It was not until 1845 that the final abolition of this 
old canal basin, long regarded as a necessary evil, was 
accomplished, and the erection of a public market 
building on its site carried out. It was a project 
which had been discussed three years. The plan was 
to erect a building with market stalls on the ground 
floor, which were to be leased for the sale of provis- 
ions, as had been and is the practice in New York and 
other cities; and a commodious hall was to be pro- 
vided on the second floor. The location of this new 
market was the subject of numerous and warm dis- 
cussions, but the place finally selected was between 
Montgomery and Market streets, where the canal basin 
had long existed as a nuisance, the cost of the land 
being $5,000. 

After the completion of the building, and to over- 
come the seeming reluctance on the part of some of 
the market-men to give up their former place of bus- 
iness for the market stalls, a paper was drawn up 
which the leading dealers signed, agreeing to try the 
new plan. This was in March, 1846. The stalls were 
accordingly taken and lavishly provided with meats, 
and the square in front of the building was the daily 
resort of farmers' teams for the sale of various kinds 
of produce. It all looked well, quite metropolitan, 


but it did not pay. Customers did not like it and 
neither did the rival dealers, and the project was soon 
abandoned. But the public hall was a great conven- 
ience, and in it was transacted for many years all the 
public business; and it was often occupied for other 
purposes. It will be remembered that the market 
place was convenient for public out-of-door gatherings 
when distinguished visitors were in town. General 
Scott in 1852 reviewed the military companies of the 
city in front of the City Hall and there made an 
address. In the same year an elaborate stand was 
erected on this square for the reception of Louis 

It is perhaps a singular coincidence that the first 
movement in the Halls of Legislation, relative to the 
Erie canal, was made by a member from Onondaga, 
Joshua Forman ; that the first exploration was made 
by an engineer of Onondaga, James Geddes; that the 
first contract was given to, and the first ground broken 
by a contractor, John Richardson, who had been sev- 
eral years a resident of Onondaga ; and all of whom 
had been judges of Onondaga's county courts and 
members of the Legislature from Onondaga county. 
Mr. Forman introduced the great project in the Leg- 
islature in 1808 ; Mr. Geddes submitted to the Surveyor 
General his report of three different routes for con- 
structing the Erie canal in 1809. 

The first contract, given to John Richardson of 


Cayuga, was dated June 27, 1817, and the remaining 
part of the whole middle section was under contract 
very soon thereafter; and on the 4th of July follow- 
ing, the excavation was commenced at Rome with 
appropriate ceremonies. In 1819 the middle section, 
from Utica to Seneca river including a lateral canal 
to Salina, about ninety-four miles, was reported by 
Governor Clinton in his annual message of 1820, as 
completed. By the opening of this portion of the 
canal the resources of Onondaga were more fully 
ascertained and developed. And finally, November 
1, 1825, a period of only eight years and four months, 
it was proclaimed to the world that the waters of Lake 
Erie were connected with those of the Hudson river 
without one foot of portage, through one of the longest 
canals in the world ; and the cost, according to the 
books of the Comptroller, including the Champlain 
canal, was $8,273,122.06. After the canal was com- 
pleted, all things were ready and the water was let in. 
For a long time it would not flow further west on the 
Syracuse level than the stone bridge, now called the 
swing bridge, at the junction of Salina and Genesee 
streets, as the water all disappeared in a bed of loose 
ground. Many despaired of ever making the canal 
tight; but after a deal of perplexity this place was 
stopped and the water run on to the Raynor block, 
northwestern corner of West Water and Franklin 
streets, and there performed the same freak, and it 
was several weeks before this level could be filled. 


If the canal benefitted the people of Onondaga, 
the men of Onondaga were principal promoters of the 
undertaking in all its incipient steps. Two men of 
Onondaga labored faithfully and effectually through- 
out; Judge Geddes as an able engineer, Judge Forman 
as an unwavering promoter of the canal's utility. 
These two men furnished more solid information 
relative to the canal than all others put together. 
Till they took hold of it, the whole matter was con- 
sidered by most men but an idle dream, a delusion, a 
false, unfeasible project. Oliver Teall was appointed 
the first Superintendent on the Erie canal, and Joshua 
Forman, the first Collector; office at Syracuse. 

The weigh-lock at Syracuse and the one at Troy 
are the only ones along the Erie canal that are now 
in good condition and capable of weighing the canal 
boats. Since the canals are now free there is no 
necessity of weighing the cargoes for the purpose of 
collecting the tolls ; but this weigh-lock is very useful 
in finding the weight of cargoes for the benefit of the 
canal captain, the shipper and the purchaser. 

The weight of each canal boat is registered in the 
Collector's office. When the weight of the cargo is 
desired, the boat is run into the slip, directly in the 
rear of the weigh-lock house. The gates are then 
closed and the water in the slip is taken out through 
a tunnel which runs under the canal and into Onon- 
daga creek, near the High School building. The 


boat then rests upon a cradle, suspended by strong 
beams from above, and it rests high and dry, just as 
ships do when placed in a dry dock. The weight of 
the cargo is then easily ascertained by means of fine 
scales used for that purpose. This weigh-lock is also 
used when repairs are necessary to be done on a dis- 
abled boat; and if it were not for this weigh-lock, 
there would be no place along the canal where such 
repairs could be done. And if it were not for this 
weigh-lock, acting as a dry dock, the disabled boats 
would, of necessity, sink into the canal, thus ob- 
structing further travel along this great water way. 
In the early days travel in the packet boats and in 
the line boats, which also carried freight, was quite 
popular and common. But it was slow traveling and 
far from pleasant if the journey was a long one, since 
the continued scraping of the towing line, the bump- 
ing of the boat against the sides of the canal, and the 
noise of the horses which were also quartered in the 
boat, interfered with the passenger's slumbering and 
prevented him from enjoying pleasant dreams. The 
canals met a serious competition in transporting both 
passengers and freight when the. railroads came into 
use. The Syracuse and Utica railroad went into oper- 
ation July 3, 1839 ; the Auburn and Syracuse Railroad 
in 1841 ; and the Oswego and Syracuse, October, 18-48. 
But the speed of these early railroads was very slow 
as compared with the rapid transit of to-day. The 


maximum speed was about fifteen miles an hour, with 
an average of from seven to ten. 

The stage coach driver was slow in relinquishing 
his profitable trade to either the packet boat or the 
railway car. It is remembered that Jason C. Wood- 
ruff, who afterwards filled the office of Mayor of Syra- 
cuse, and who excelled all other stage drivers on the 
road, would wheel up his coach-and-four, " as he cut 
a clean 6 and swept a bold 8," in front of the Syracuse 
House, and offer a wager that he could reach the end 
of the journey quicker than either the railroad car or 
the packet boat. But so great was his skill and so 
excellent his horses that he had no takers. The stage 
coach is now almost forgotten and the canals are 
maintained mainly to regulate railroad freight rates ; 
but there is no question but that the village of Syra- 
cuse is the offspring of the Erie canal, and that the 
villages of Onondaga Valley and Salina, by declining 
to render material assistance to Judge Forman in his 
canal undertaking, lost their golden opportunity. 



The following are the ' ' Reminiscences of Syra- 
cuse," from the personal recollections of Timothy C. 
Cheney, compiled by Parish B. Johnson. These 
reminiscences give a description of Syracuse in 1824, 
and they were published in pamphlet form in 1857. 
They are invaluable, since they contain almost the 
only authentic records of Syracuse at that early date. 
Very few of the pamphlets are now in existence. Mr. 
Cheney was one of the earliest settlers in the village 
of Syracuse, and he was intimately connected with 
the business and history of the place, both as a village 
and a city. His reminiscences give an account of the 
most important local events that have transpired, and 
brief sketches and anecdotes of several of the early 
inhabitants : — 

My father, with his family, came to this county 
in the winter of 1811 and '12. This county then 
formed part of the "Military Tract," and was the 
residence of large numbers of Revolutionary soldiers, 



who had obtained the land for their services in our 
war for freedom. They were generally athletic, hardy 
and energetic, and well fitted to settle a new country. 

We lived on Onondaga East Hill about two years. 
My brothers and myself went to school in an old log 
school-house to our worthy citizen, D. B. Bickford. 

A tavern was kept there by John C. Brown, 
brother-in-law to Harvey Baldwin. 

Onondaga East Hill was then a place well 
adapted and frequently used as a rendezvous for regi- 
ments of soidiers passing from the Eastern States to 
the Niagara frontier. 

Fragments of regiments and companies of British 
prisoners generally camped there for the night by the 
side of a small stream, while on their way to and 
from the different places of detention or exchange. 

I well remember going one fall in a wagon with 
my father, to Salina, after a load of salt. We went 
through Onondaga Hollow by the way of Mickles' 
Furnace, to what was then called the "Corners," 
now Syracuse. At that time there was no road 
where the present Tully Plank Road now runs ; that 
part of the country was still in its natural state. 

We stopped at a tavern on the present site of 'the 
Empire block, kept by Mr. Bogardus, an old 
Revolutionary soldier. The house was a small one, 
and was, I should judge, about twenty by thirty feet 
square, and a story and a half high. I do not recollect 


of seeing any other houses, though there may have 
been two or three small ones. 

I well recollect that it was a cedar swamp from 
the Corners to Lodi, and a corduroy road where the 
Genesee turnpike now runs. The road was covered 
with an arch of cedars, and it looked very much like 
an arched railroad tunnel a mile in length. The Cor- 
ners, at that time, comprised the whole of Syracuse. 

At that time nearly all of the first settlers of this 
county were alive, and as a boy I knew them. 

I was well acquainted with General Asa Dan- 
f orth, and used to visit him frequently to listen to his 
stories about the Revolution and partake of the 
delicious musk melons with which he bountifully 
supplied me. 

I was at that time but six years old, and he must 
have been over seventy-five. I well remember the 
feelings of sorrow and regret I experienced as I saw 
him borne to his grave. He was buried on the knoll, 
next north of the old stone arsenal, and was removed 
from that place to the family burial ground of Thad- 
deus M. Wood, and a few years ago his remains were 
again removed and placed in the cemetery at Onon- 
daga Hollow. 

Arthur Patterson and Dr. Needham of Onondaga 
Hollow are the only persons now living who acted as 
pall bearers on that mournful occasion. 

General Danf orth came to this county in the year 


1788, and settled in Onondaga Hollow, with the per- 
mission of the Indians. 

At that time there were fnll five hundred Indians 
belonging to the Onondaga tribe. Many of their old 
men were engaged in the Revolution. They fought 
for his majesty, George III, against the American 

They had also fought against General Sullivan 
soon after the Revolution, in three small battles in 
this valley. Two of those battles were fought within 
the corporate limits of this city. 

General Sullivan came up the Susquehanna with 
a large force, landed near Elmira and crossed over 
the country west of this place, until he reached 
Onondaga Lake. He passed round the lake until he 
reached the ground now occupied by the Salt Springs 
Pump House, which used to be Henry Young's sand 
bed. At this point he fought a severe battle with the 
Onondagas and defeated them. The Indians retreated 
to the foot of the hill, where the Water Works 
reservoir is now located, and encamped. In the 
morning General Sullivan sent out his scouts, who 
discovered and captured a couple of Indian spies in a 
large tree. From these two Indians they obtained 
information in regard to the camping place of the 

The General formed his army in the form of a 
crescent and advanced over the hill, completely tak- 


ing the Indians by surprise, while busily engaged in 
cooking breakfast, and shutting off every avenue of 
escape. At that time the flats near the foot of the 
Mil were covered with water at all seasons of the 

The Indians, discovering their situation, fought like 
savages while any hope was left, and then wildly 
plunged into the creek and escaped by swimming. 
Large numbers of them were killed in the water. 
General Sullivan rapidly followed up his advantage, 
and completely destroyed the castle and the largest 
portion of the village. 

In the village they found a negro lock-smith 
engaged in repairing the locks of the Indians' guns. 
He was immediately seized by the infuriated army 
and hung and quartered in less than fifteen minutes. 

The young chief, Anteauga, was engaged in both 
of these battles, and distinguished himself by his 
great bravery. He was presented by General Wash- 
ington with an oblong silver medal, which he always 
wore afterwards, as a token of friendship and fidelity 
to this Government. The medal is probably still in 
the possession of his relatives on this Reservation. 

The Onondagas were nearly destroyed by this 
incursion of General Sullivan into their country. 
They shortly afterwards came to terms, and were 
thenceforth allies of the American Government. 

This city was known from 1806 to 1809 as 

118 cheney's reminiscences 

"Bogardus' Corners;" from 1809 to 1812 as "Mil- 
an;" from 1812 to 1811 as "South Salina;" from 
1814 to 1817 as "Cossit's Corners;" from 1817 to 
1820 as "Corinth;" and from that time it has ever 
been known as Syracuse, the name given it by John 
Wilkinson, he being the first postmaster. 

Mr. Cheney came here to reside in March, 1824. 
He boarded on Church street, and used to cross "the 
green" where the old Baptist church (now the 
National theatre) stands, on his way to work. 

One morning in the spring as he was going to his 
work, the thought came across his mind that he might 
live to see the time when the " Corners " would be- 
come a large and flourishing place, and that when 
that time did arrive it would be pleasant to look back 
to the year 1824 and be able to tell how many houses 
were then erected. 

From where he stood every house in the village 
could be distinctly seen. He counted them and found 
there were but twenty-three finished houses and six 
or seven under way. 

How few there are, if placed in the same circum- 
stances with Mr. Cheney, would have conceived and 
carried out such an idea ? And yet that wild dream 
of the future has come to pass. " The Corners " have 
grown until now they fill the vast boundaries of Syra- 
cuse—the " City of Salt" and " Isms." 

At that time it was thought the " Old Red Mill " 


would be the business centre of the future city. 
What citizen of Syracuse during the past ten years 
does not remember the old Red Mill ? We, the com- 
piler, well remember its old walls. In our more youth- 
ful days it was one of our favorite places of resort. 
We remember the feelings of awe and wonder we 
were wont to experience as we watched the great 
wooden water-wheel turn, turn, with a uniform mo- 
tion, as if striving to get rid of the great weight of 
water let fall upon its time-worn frame from the 
moss-covered flume. We remember curiously watch- 
ing the tin boxes of the elevator as they wound rap- 
idly upward, bearing their burdens of grain or flour ; 
of listening to the ceaseless bur-r-r-r of its different 
run of stone, and the clatter of the hopper as it sup- 
plied their greedy mouths. We remember the great 
bolter and the wooden spout from which issued a 
great dusty stream of bran or shorts ; the huge box, 
into which was emptied the farmers' bags of grain to 
be weighed and then let down into a bin below, through 
a square hole in the bottom. And we do not forget 
the dark frown that would overshadow that fat, jovial 
face of the miller as we, boy-fashion, dipped our un- 
resisting hand into the wheat bin and commenced that 
great delight of boys, making gum. 

We remember still later, when the old mill had 
been abandoned, and the great wheel had ceased to turn 
the complicated machinery, of crawling burglar-like 

120 cheney's reminiscences 

into one of its back windows and playing "hide 
and seek " within its deserted walls ; of trembling and 
turning pale as we were startled by the noise made 
by some ancient rat as it clattered across the floor ; of 
starting noiselessly down the stairs as the declining 
sun threw a dim and dismal light through its mil- 
dewed windows, looking right and left, expecting 
every instant to behold some ghost or other frightful 
apparition ; until we reached the street, when, drawing 
a deep sigh of relief and casting a sidelong glance at 
the old mill, we would start on the homeward track ; 
and we remember the old wooden bridge across the 
creek and race, from which we first witnessed the 
ordinance of baptism. 

Excuse us, kind reader, for indulging in these sweet, 
sad memories of the past. At times we delight to 
revel in the shades of other days, and the old Red Mill 
and rickety wooden bridge, with many pleasant asso- 
ciations, hold a prominent place in our memories. 

The old Red Mill was built in 1805, and set in oper- 
ation the following year by Mr. Walton of the famous 
"Walton Tract." It was situated on the east bank 
of the Onondaga Creek, near the present substantial 
bridge spanning the creek on West Genesee street. 
In 1850 the old mill with its ancient companion, the 
wooden bridge, was removed to make room for the 
present artistic super-structure. The motive power 
was furnished by a mill race, leading from the old 


mill pond, now Jefferson Park. The mill dam stood 
where the present Water street "bridge has been erected, 
and the pond extended as far south as Cinder road 
bridge. The waste water from the mill ran directly 
into Onondaga Creek. 

The old mill contained two run of stone, and Henry 
Young was miller in 1824. 

When it became necessary to remove the old mill 
dam, the Syracuse Company employed Mr. Young to 
make a pond west of the salt office, to be filled by the 
waste water from the canal, and to dig a race from 
the pond to the mill. 

While he was engaged in digging the race he re- 
moved an old pine stump standing in front of the 
dwelling of E. F. Wallace, measuring four feet in 
diameter. At the foot of this stump among the roots 
he found the bones of a large Indian, a tomahawk, 
beads, knives and a rude earthen pot containing black 
and red paint. The paint was as fresh and perfect as 
though mixed the day before. Mr. Young claimed 
that the bones of this Indian, with the tomahawk, 
knives and pot of paint, had lain there for two hun- 
dred years. He had known the spot of ground for 
forty years, and the tree had been cut before he saw 
the place. The tomahawk found with the Indian is 
now in the possession of Mr. Cheney." It is a small 
iron hatchet with a pipe bowl for a head. The handle 
of this instrument was too much decayed to be 

122 Cheney's reminiscences 

preserved. This hatchet must have been brought here 
with the French Jesuits in 1656, and was obtained 
froni them by this Indian, who, to judge from the 
quantity of trinkets and ornaments buried with him, 
must have been a very rich man. 

A little southwest of the old Red Mill, on the race 
leading from the dam, Captain Rufus Parsons built a 
mill for the purpose of making linseed oil. In 1824 
it was in full operation. 

Southeast of the old mill, on the same side of the 
race, there stood a saw mill. It was built in 1805. 
In 1824 it was run by Frederick Horner. 

That year pine lumber sold at the mill for four 
dollars per thousand, and hemlock for two dollars 
and fifty cents. Even at these prices, "store pay" 
had to be taken. 

Mr. Hickox built a tannery that year on the 
present site of Walters' sheep-skin factory. Part of 
the old building is now standing. Mr. Hickox also 
built the house on the corner of Mill and Mechanic 

In 1824 that portion of our city now occupied by 
the Syracuse Pump House, was covered with a dense 
growth of small trees and bushes. Among these 
trees, near the present sand bed, stood a grave stone 
which had been erected a great many years before to 
the memory of a poor Indian trader who was mur- 
dered on that spot by the Onondagas. The inscrip- 


tion on the grave stone recorded the name of "Ben- 
jamin Newkirk, 1783." With Newkirk came Ephraim 
Webster. By reason of some act on their part dis- 
pleasing to the natives, a council was held, at which 
it was agreed to kill them. Newkirk they imme- 
diately dispatched with a tomahawk. Webster's time 
had to all appearances come ; he was escorted by two 
Indians to the place of execution. Arrived at the 
spot, he told his conductors that he wanted to drink 
once more before he died. The request was granted; 
whereupon he took his cup and drank the health of 
the Chiefs in a flattering speech. The speech capti- 
vated an old man so greatly that he exclaimed: "No 
kill'm." After some parley he was released and adop- 
ted into the tribe. 

Soon afterwards he was married to a squaw. She 
did not live long. He married another, with the 
understanding that she was to remain his wife as long 
as she kept sober. He lived with her near twenty 
years, although he contrived many plots to get her 
intoxicated, that he might get rid of her and marry 
a white woman, as the whites became numerous. At 
the end of this period, with the aid of milk punch, 
he succeeded in his cruel attempts. The morning 
following her disgrace, she arose and without speak- 
ing a word, proceeded to gather together her personal 
effects, and left for her friends, no more the wife of 
Webster. Of a sensitive mind, and possessing a large 

124 cheney's reminiscences 

share of self-respect, grief so preyed upon her that 
she died in a short time after the separation. One of 
her sons is now the principal Chief of the Onondagas, 
and is a man of unblemished character. After his 
second wife left him, Webster married Catharine 
Danks, a daughter of one of the early settlers of this 

Webster was very serviceable in the war of 1812 
in commanding the Indians, and acting in the capa- 
city of a spy for General Brown. He was a perfect 
Indian in manners ; could speak all the dialects of the 
American and Canadian tribes, and was a very 
shrewd and sagacious man. He used to make jour- 
neys into Canada, and, pretending to be intoxicated, 
lie around the fort at Kingston, for the purpose of 
obtaining information to communicate to the General 
at Sachet's Harbor. In order to get over the St. Law- 
rence, he would steal a boat, which upon landing on 
the other side he would set adrift ; and on returning 
he would repeat the theft. The General and he were 
in close communion, and the nature of their inter- 
views was known only to themselves. When on these 
Canadian expeditions, he would disguise himself with 
a coloring substance, that gave him the exact appear- 
ance of an Indian, and that could not be washed off 
from the skin by any ordinary process. He always 
pretended that his errand among the red coats was to 
obtain food or whiskey, and among the officers of 


recent importation h,e rnet with uniform kindness; 
but the old ones, who knew him well, usually sent 
him away with a kick or a curse. 

A little east of Newkirk's grave, myself and other 
boys used to dig up the remains of Indians for the 
purpose of getting possession of the beads, kettles, 
knives and other implements of warfare, or an orna- 
mental dress that had been buried with them — this 
being the spot where the slain on both sides in the 
first battle General Sullivan had with the Onondagas 
were consigned to their final resting place. 

Across the creek west of the old Red Mill there 
were but few houses standing in 1824, and only two 
or three more were built that year. 

The house Hon. George F. Comstock now owns 
and occupies, was occupied that year by John Wall. 
He boarded the hands employed by Cyprian Hebbard, 
step-father of George Stevens, of this city. Mr. Heb- 
bard now resides in Onondaga Valley, and is a man 
seventy-one years of age. 

In 1824, Mr. Hebbard was engaged in building the 
salt works on both sides of Genesee street, west of 
the Onondaga creek. 

A small yellow house then stood on the present 
site of Allen Munroe's new house, and in 1824 was 
occupied by Sterling Cossit, formerly landlord of the 
old Mansion House. 

The house now standing 1 on the corner of West 


and Genesee streets, lately occupied by D. O. Salmon, 
was built that year by Henry Young, the miller. His 
brother, Andrew Young, built the second house 
south of the corner on West street. 

Old Mrs. Marble then lived on West street. 
Christopher Hyde lived nearly opposite of her resi- 
dence. A carpenter named Patterson lived a little 
north of Mr. Hyde. 

The house Joseph Savage has occupied so many 
years, was built in 1823 and finished in 1824. It was 
occupied that year by Calvin Mitchell, a contractor. 
He obtained the contract for building the railroad 
between Schenectady and Albany, one of the first 
railroads ever built in this State. 

These were the only houses then standing on the 
west side of Onondaga creek and north of the canal. 

The old house standing on the southeast corner of 
Genesee and Mill streets, was built several years 
before by Captain Rufus Parsons. The house now 
standing near the northeast corner of Genesee and 
Mill streets, was occupied by Frederick Horner. 

Mr. Horner is now nearly eighty years of age, and 
is the only man now living in this city that ever saw 
George Washington. 

About the time of the first invention of the grain 
elevator, inventors experienced great difficulty and 
expense in obtaining patent rights. Mr. Horner was 
then engaged in tending mill in New Jersey, and one 


of the newly invented elevators had been placed in 
his mill, and as yet had not been patented ; though 
the inventor was using every means in his power to 
secure the desired protection of his skill. Washing- 
ton, who was then President, was induced by the 
invention to diverge from the direct route to the seat 
of government at New York, and witness the per- 
formance of the elevator. Thus was Mr. Horner 
afforded the pleasure of exhibiting to the Father of 
his Country one of the first grain elevators. This was 
the only time Mr. Horner ever saw the great Wash- 
ington, and he remembers him distinctly as he 
appeared on that occasion. 

A little north of Mr. Horner's residence, Andrew 
Young lived in a small wooden house which is now 

The house that David Stafford lives in on West 
Genesee street, was built by his father in 1824. He 
was a carpenter by trade, and assisted in building the 
old Baptist church and several other edifices. 

A Mr. Cook built the house next west of A. Mc- 
Kinstry's present residence on Church street. 

Mr. D. Canfield built the house next east of 
Public School House No. 4, and that year it was 
occupied by the Rev. Mr. Barlow, the Episcopalian 

Samuel Booth was the principal master mason at 
that time, and owned and lived in a wooden house a 

128 cheney's reminiscences 

little east of Public School House No. 4. He did the 
mason work on the old Saleratus Factory, and was a 
prominent, influential mechanic. 

An old yellow painted house then stood on the 
point formed by the junction of Genesee and Church 
streets, and was occupied by Deacon Fellows. The 
first house next west of the Baptist church was then 

Elijah Bicknall built the old Baptist church that 
year. Elder Gilbert was Pastor of the Church that 
year, and when the carpenters got ready to raise the 
building he mounted the timbers and made a long 
prayer for the blessing and prosperity of their work. 
Mr. Bicknall also built the small yellow house east of 
the old church, fronting on Church street. 

L. A. Cheney purchased the lot fronting on the 
corner of Franklin and Mechanic streets that year, 
for two hundred and fifty dollars. It was then 
considered one of the most desirable lots in the vil- 
lage, on account of its being so near the centre of 
business. He had his choice, and selected that in 
preference to all others in the village, at the same 
price. Few persons, if any, then thought that the 
south side of the canal would ever be anything. 

The old wooden house east of the foot bridge on 
Franklin street was built that year by Matthew L. 
Davis, and was kept the same year as a tavern by 
William Hicks. Mr. Davis also built the present 


residence of William L. Palmer on Genesee street. 
While Mr. Palmer's family were engaged in cleaning 
house last spring, they explored a large hole in one of 
the numerous cupboards, and discovered the remains 
of a linen pillow case marked "Matthew L. Davis." 
This pillow case must have lain in that hole upwards 
of thirty years. It was probably stolen by some 
mischievous rat and deposited in that place. 

A little east of Mr. Hicks' tavern, Mr. P. Clarke 
occupied a small frame house. 

The salt fields back of Church street were in full 
operation that year. 

The house Mr. Driscoll lived in between Church 
street and the salt works, was built that year by Mr. 
Ryder. He also built two small houses on Mill 

Where Public School House No. 4 now stands, 
there was. standing, in 1824, an unpainted frame 
house, twentyrflve feet square, a story and a half high, 
with a roof sloping four ways. This building con- 
tained one room, very high between joints, which was 
warmed by a large box stove. The room was fur- 
nished with old-fashioned, inconvenient school-house 
furniture, and in this room William K. Blair, for 
five days and a half in each week, taught the young 
ideas of Syracuse how to shoot. 

The Universalists held regular meetings every Sab- 
bath in this room. 


The celebrated Orestes A. Brownson occasionally 
preached Universalism in this school-house to the in- 
habitants of Syracuse. 

The house now occupied by Henry Fellows on West 
Genesee street was occupied by Widow Creed (now 
Mrs. M. D. Burnet) as a boarding house. 

The house on the corner of Franklin and Genesee 
streets, the present residence of George B. Walters, 
was built that year by Henry Gilford. Mr. Gifford 
cut some of the sleepers for his house from the ground 
now occupied by the residence of John Crouse, on the 
corner of Fayette and Mulberry streets. 

D. Canfield lived in a small house next east of 
Booth's on Church street. 

B. Filkins lived next to him on the same side of 
the street. 

John Wall built a small house east of Filkins' for 
the Syracuse Conrpany. 

Miles Seymour built the house on the southwest 
corner of Genesee and Franklin streets. He also built 
and kept a blacksmith shop on the corner of Clinton 
alley and Genesee street, the present site of the Dana 

The Rev. Dr. Adams lived in a small wooden house 
on Franklin street, between the canal and Genesee 
street. The house was built in 1824 and occupied by 
Dr. Adams in 1825. 

Hiram Hyde built the house near the centre of the 
block, between Clinton and Franklin streets. 


Henry Newton lived in a small yellow house next 
west of John Ritchie's new store. 

The old Eagle Tavern, kept by Frederick Rhyne, 
then stood on the present site of John Ritchie's store, 
and did a large business. 

Joel Cody owned and lived in a small wooden house 
where the new Baptist church now stands. Attached 
to the house he had a large, well-kept garden, stocked 
with fruit trees and grapes, running back to Church 
street. Mr. Cody was at that time captain of a packet 
boat running between Utica and Rochester, and was 
noted for his eccentricities and love of fun. 

East of Mr. Cody's house two brothers by the name 
of Woodward built a large frame house, which was 
kept by them for a hotel for about a year. After- 
wards, Mr. Gates, son-in-law of Sterling Cossit, kept 
the house until it was accidentally burned. 

The present residence of P. S. Stoddard was occu- 
pied in 1824 by Squire Bacon. He kept his justice 
office in the basement. 

The present residence of Daniel Dana stood between 
Woodward's tavern and a small house standing next 
to Captain Cody's, occupied by a weak-minded man 
named Cohen. 

Deacon Dana came here in 1825, and worked in the 
salt works, packing salt. 

Monday, July 5, 1824, marks the date of the first 
celebration of our National Independence ever held in 


this city. The Syracuse Gazette of July 7, 1824, pub- 
lished by Mr. Durnford, gives the following account 
of the celebration : 

" At the morn's early dawn, the day was ushered 
in by the thunder of cannon bursting upon the still- 
ness of the hour; and at sunrise a national salute was 
fired from Prospect Hill, on the north side of the vil- 
lage. As the spiring columns of the cannon's smoke 
disappeared, the star spangled banner of our country 
was then seen floating majestically in the air from the 
top of a towering staff erected on the summit of this 
hill for the occasion. At about twelve o'clock, a pro- 
cession was formed in front of Mr. Williston's hotel, 
under the direction of Colonel A. P. Granger, marshal 
of the day. An escort, consisting of Captain Rossi- 
ter's company of Light Horse, an artillery company 
under the command of Lieutenant J. D. Rose, and 
Captain H. W. Durnford's company of riflemen, with 
their music swelling and banners flying, preceded the 
procession which moved to the new meeting house 
(the old Baptist church). Here the usual exercises 
took place, and an oration was pronounced by J. R. 
Sutermeister, which was received by the large assem- 
bly with a universal burst of approbation. The pro- 
cession then formed again and moved through the 
village to the summit of Prospect Hill, where, under 
a bower, a numerous company partook of a cold col- 
lation prepared by Mr. Williston, landlord of the 
Mansion House. 


"It was a truly interesting sight to see among our 
fellow citizens who participated in the festivities of 
this day, about thirty of the remnant of that gallant 
band of patriots who fought in the Revolution. These 
spared monuments of our country's boast honored the 
company with their presence throughout the day, 
giving a zest to the festivities rarely to be found in 
common celebrations of this national anniversary." 

The principal object of attraction on that day was 
the Rifle Company, composed of the young men of the 
county, and commanded by Captain H. W. Durnford, 
Lieutenant James H. Luther and Orderly Zophar H. 
Adams. They were dressed in red Scotch plaid frocks 
and pants, trimmed on the bottoms and sides with a 
bright red fringe. They wore leather caps with long 
red feathers, and carried the long Indian rifle, with 
powder horns and bullet pouches. As they marched 
through the streets, they presented a gay and impos- 
ing appearance. 

Prospect Hill was then fully forty feet higher than 
at present. The trees and bushes were removed from 
its summit for the purpose of the celebration. 

The aged veterans fast disappeared, and at the 
next celebration only about half the members were 
present. The second year following, they were still 
fewer in number; and finally all sank into honored 
graves, amid the regrets of many true patriots. In 
1824, the thirty veterans who were present walked in 


the procession, but in the succeeding years time had 
made so great inroads on their ranks and constitu- 
tions that carriages were provided for their accom- 

A little Irishman named John Dunn had a black- 
smithing and horse shoeing shop next east of Captain 
Parsons' house, on the corner of Genesee and Mill 
streets. He was a jolly, whiskey-loving fellow, and 
afforded a great deal of amusement to his customers. 

East of David Stafford's house, there stood a large 
yellow painted carriage factory, carried on by a Mr. 
Martin. Between the factory and Stafford's house, 
there was standing in 1824 a large pine tree. 

The old yellow stores, now Taylor & Company's 
saleratus factory, were erected in 1824. Samuel 
Booth had the contract for and performed the mason 
work of the building. Daniel Elliott, of Auburn, 
performed the carpenter work. 

Matthew L. Davis occupied the store on the corner 
of Genesee and Clinton streets, as a dry goods store. 

Heman and Chester Walbridge occupied the store 
next to him, as a dry goods and general assortment 

A man from New York kept a bookstore in the 
same block, in the store next to the canal. The store 
on Genesee street was occupied by Samuel Hicks as a 
hat store. 

A one and a half story wooden store, between the 


Eagle tavern and Hicks' hat shop, was occupied by 
Matthew L. Davis, previous to his going into the cor- 
ner of the then new block. 

Before the new stores were completed, the Wal- 
bridges occupied the old store formerly standing on 
the corner of Clinton alley. 

B. B. Batchelder occupied a store next to him, and 
kept a general assortment of all descriptions of goods. 

A. Root occupied the third store from the corner, 
as a boot and shoe store. 

These old buildings were all removed last summer 
to make room for the new Court House. 

Clinton Square, the famous resort for our wood 
dealers from the country, was then a large green, 
upon which many a game of base ball was played by 
the young men of the village. The packet boats used 
to land their passengers on the towpath, and they 
would cross the green to the old Mansion House. 

The Mansion House stood on the ground now occu- 
pied by the stately Empire block. It was built in 
1805 by Henry Bogardus, and kept by him as a 
tavern for several years. Back of the house, Mr. 
Bogardus erected his barns and out-houses. He also 
set out a large orchard of apples and other fruit. 
Some of the old apple trees are still standing and bear 
a very excellent variety of fruit. Mr. Bogardus had 
no regular bar in his tavern, and was accustomed to 
set his liquors and glasses out upon a large table. 


The proprietorship of the Mansion House changed 
hands several times during its existence. In the 
spring of 1824, Sterling Cossit was the landlord. 
That spring the house was enlarged and renovated, 
and O. H. Williston assumed the proprietorship. 

The Mansion House was a shabby, patched up old 
concern, requiring additions and alterations every 
year, until it looked like a relic of other days. It 
was the scene of many a hard "Salt Point spree," 
and had its old walls been gifted with the power of 
speech, they could have told many a strange tale of 
hard fought, strongly contested battles between the 
sturdy residents of Salina and Syracuse. The greatest 
rivalry existed between the two places in 1824, which 
manifested itself in "free fights" every time the resi- 
dents of either town crossed the boundary line. That 
year the Salt Pointers strained every nerve as far as 
building and business were concerned, to outstrip the 
rapid growth of Syracuse ; but every exertion proved 
unavailing. Syracuse shot ahead like a race horse, 
and has ever since maintained the ascendancy. 

In 1845, the old Mansion House and attending 
buildings were removed to make room for the Empire 
block. The Empire block was commenced in 1845 
by John H. Tomlinson and Stephen W. Cadwell of 
Syracuse and John Thomas of Albany. The building 
was finished in 1 S4 i , when John H. Tomlinson became 
sole owner. Mr. Tomlinson was killed by a railroad 


accident at Little Falls in the summer of 1848. He 
was an active, energetic, enterprising man, and car- 
ried on more business than ten ordinary men could 
well accomplish. He was a native of this county, 
and died deeply regretted by a very extensive 
acquaintance throughout the State. 

In the fall of 1848, the Empire was sold under the 
hammer to John Taylor of Newark, New Jersey. It 
was afterwards purchased by James L. Voorhees and 
John D. Norton. In 1850, Colonel Voorhees became 
sole owner, and during the summer of 1856 he made 
large and important additions and improvements on 
the original building, until it is now one of the 
largest, best built and arranged blocks in the city. 

Colonel Voorhees came to this county in the win- 
ter of 1812-13. He settled in Lysander, about 20 
miles from this city. The Colonel was then eighteen 
years of age. He started in life with an axe, and has 
hewn himself into a position of great wealth and 
influence. In his early days, the Colonel passed under 
the familiar nickname of the ' ' Dutchman " and ' ' the 
tall pine of Lysander." He has been engaged since 
his boyhood in the lumber business in all its depart- 
ments, from the office of "chopper" to the position 
of the extensive landed proprietor. In the years 
1844-45 and '46, he was engaged in the construction of 
the extensive Atlantic docks, in the port of New 
York. He is now sixty-two years of age, and 

138 Cheney's reminiscences 

appears as hale and hearty as a man of forty, and even 
now transacts an amount of business that would 
require the time and energies of three or four common 
men to accomplish. 

In 1824, the people used a peculiar kind of hay 
scales. A load of hay was drawn under a roof, four 
chains were lowered and attached to the hubs of the 
wagon, and by means of pulleys and a windlass the 
load of hay was hoisted into the air, and the weight 
determined by a huge pair of steelyards in the loft of 
the building. Such an inconvenient contrivance for 
weighing hay stood a little north of the Mansion 

The house now standing in the northeast corner of 
Clinton alley and Clinton street, now occupied by 
George B. Parker, was built in 1821 by Asa Marvin. 
The house next east of it was built by John Wall for 
the Syracuse Company. 

The present residence of J. D. Dana, on the corner 
of Church street and Clinton alley, was built that 
year by a Mr. Denslow. The old canal stables on 
Clinton alley were in full blast in 1821. They were 
owned by John A. Green, father of our well known 
grocery merchant of that name, and ars now a part 
of the new Court House lot. 

In 1821, General A. P. Granger was the proprietor 
of a store containing a general assortment of all 
descriptions of wares and merchandise, on the present 


site of the Star buildings. Hiram Deming was his 
clerk. His store was a long, two story building, 
fronting on &alina street. The building stood back 
from the street a few feet, and had a green fence of 
posts and cross bars between the street and house, to 
which his customers fastened their teams when they 
came to trade. The south end was occupied by the 
store, and the north end of the house and the second 
story the General occupied as a dwelling house. 
Between the fence and the house a considerable 
quantity of shrubbery had been set out, forming a 
miniature flower garden. The General was one of 
the principal men of the village, and on the occasion 
of LaFayette's passage through Syracuse (June 8, 
1825), during his last visit to this country, he was 
made the orator of the day. 

The General performed the duties of the office to 
the entire satisfaction of every person present on 
that occasion by making an excellent and appropriate 
speech to the assembled citizens, from the deck of a 
canal boat, in honor of the distinguished visitor. 

At the time of LaFayette's visit to this place, 
there lived at Onondaga Hollow a large, athletic man 
named Moore, familiarly known under the appella- 
tion of " Donakeedee." This man was engaged in the 
Revolution, and served as a private in LaFayette's 
regiment. While in the army he had been nick- 
named, on account of his extremely large head, 


"Cabbage Head." LaFayette came from the west 
by the way of Marcelhis, Onondaga Hill and Onon- 
daga Hollow. While passing through the Hollow, 
Moore was brought before him, and he was asked 
who it was. LaFayette regarded the man a moment, 
and then exclaimed: "Why, it's Cabbage Head." 
This story will serve to show the remarkable memory 
of the great LaFayette. He had not seen "Cabbage 
Head " for forty-two years, and yet his memory of 
the man was perfect. 

A few moments after LaFayette had made his 
final bow to the assembled citizens, and retired to the 
cabin of the boat in which he was then traveling, a 
large scow boat loaded down with men, women and 
children, arrived from Geddes to see the great and 
illustrious companion of Washington. LaFayette 
being informed of their arrival, again ascended to the 
deck, amid the prolonged cheers of the multitude, 
said a few words to his Geddes visitants, and, bow- 
ing, proceeded on his way to Utica. 

LaFayette was a man of medium height, well 
proportioned, and stood very erect for a man of his 
age. He had a large head, full features, a rough, 
swarthy skin and beard cut smooth. He wore a very 
curly, light brown wig, rather inclined to red, and 
was dressed in a straight bodied black coat, black silk 
vest, Nankeen pants and calf skin shoes. He was 
very polite and pleasing in his address, in fact a most 
perfect and polished gentleman in every respect. 



LaFayette's son, George Washington LaFayette, 
acconipanied hini on his last visit to this country. 
He was a larger man than his father. The top of his 
head was bald, what little hair he possessed being 
brown. He was a very good looking man, free and 
easy in his manners, and dressed in black. 

In 1821, Salina street bridge consisted of one single 
stone arch, barely high enough to admit of the pas- 
sage of the small boats used in those days. A stone 
wall was raised about three feet above the level of the 
roadway on each side of the bridge, and was covered 
with flag coping full three feet broad. This wall 
formed a favorite lounging place for the lazy people 
of Syracuse. They could lie on the coping and 
watch the boats as they passed up and down the 
canal, and at the same time witness all that transpired 
in the village. Occasionally one of the numerous 
loafers would go to sleep and roll off into the canal, 
thus furnishing food for the gossiping tongues of the 
villagers for many a day and week. 

In 1824, Stephen W. Cadwell and Paschal Thurber 
bought out a man by the name of Cunimings, who 
kept a lot of pet bears, wolves, monkeys and other 
wild animals on the ground now occupied by Cadwell 
and the Doran brothers on James street. This Cum- 
mings was a miserable old fellow, and everybody was 
glad to get rid of him. 

Between Cadwell's and Granger's corner there were 


three or four old rookeries standing, occupied by dif- 
ferent persons, who derived the principal part of their 
trade from the canal boatmen. 

East of Cadwell's, a man named Brockway occu- 
pied a little shop as a meat market. Next to the meat 
market, there stood a large frame building painted 
red, a miserable old shell at best. East of this red 
house, on the corner now occupied as a grocery by 
B. C. Lathrop, a store house was kept by E. L. Clark 
in a large wooden building, since burned. 

In 1824, that portion of James street styled " Rob- 
bers' Row " had been surveyed and laid out as a street, 
but had not been worked. The trees and brush had 
been cleared off and the passage of teams had made 
considerable of a trail. Stores and houses on the 
south side of the street had their front entrances open- 
ing on the towing path. The gable ends and back 
yards of the houses were on James street. 

James street proper was at that time only an Indian 
trail, leading over the hills to what was then Foot 
Settlement, now the first gate. The eye of the lonely 
wayfarer on that trail was not gladdened by the sight 
of the lordly and palatial residences of the upper ten 
that now give a grand and aristocratic appearance to 
this beautiful street. 

The only object on this trail which then served as 
a resting place to eyes (if there ever were such, wearied 
with continuous watching of swaying trees and 


falling leaves in the dense forest where God speaks to 
man through the rustling leaves, the sighing wind 
and the joyous appearance of all nature, as with a 
human voice) was the dwelling house of Major Bur- 
net, erected that year by Rodney Sargents, of 
Auburn. This house stood on a slight eminence now 
occupied by the new residence of Major Burnet. 
The house fronted the south, and had a path, or 
rather, an impromptu road leading directly to the 
towing path on the Erie canal. The house then stood 
far out of town, and the only avenue of approach for 
teams was by the tow path and the private road. 
Persons on foot could reach the house by taking the 
trail and beating through the underbrush. 

The old collector's office stood between the bridges 
spanning the junction of the Erie and Oswego canals. 
A foundation of hewn timber was laid upon "Goose 
Island," on the north side of the towing path, and 
upon this was erected a small frame house which was 
designated as the canal collector's office. Dr. Colvin 
was the collector in 1824, and employed Benjamin C. 
Lathrop and B. F. Colvin as clerks in his office. The 
Doctor resided in a small frame house on Salina street, 
a little north of Waggoner's corner. 

The amount of produce cleared during the season 
of 1824 from this office was 12,065 barrels of flour, 
2,862 barrels provisions, 2,565 barrels ashes, 76,631 
barrels salt, and 64,240 bushels of wheat. The amount 


of toll received at the office during the season of 1824 
was $18,491.58. 

The old weigh lock was completed that year. It 
was built upon an entirely different plan from the one 
now followed ; the weight of the boat being determined 
by measuring the quantity of water it displaced. 

Deacon Spencer then owned and occupied the old 
boat yard (now John Durston's) near the Oswego 
canal. The boat yard was then considered out of 
town, the easiest avenues of approach being by the 
tow path. 

Deacon Spencer lived in a small frame house ad- 
joining, and west of the present "Greyhound Inn," 
on the corner of James and Warren streets. 

Between Deacon Spencer's residence and Wag- 
goner's corner there were two small edifices. The first 
one was occupied and used as a blacksmith shop. The 
other was the residence of Widow Cushing, who ob- 
tained a scanty subsistence by retailing milk to those 
needing this product of her only cow. 

A little mercurial Frenchman, named Lewis, a 
brother-in-law of Sterling Cossit, resided in the first 
house north of Dr. Colvin's on Salina street. 

James Sackett commenced building in 1824, a little 
north of Dr. Colvin and the Frenchman. He was a 
very eccentric man, and at times was feared and dis- 
liked by all his neighbors, because he would persist 
in indulging in the most eccentric habits. 


Dr. Colvin's, the Frenchman's and Mr. Sackett's 
were the only houses on the block opposite of the 
Empire in 1824. 

A small frame house stood on the ground now oc- 
cupied by the Noxon block. It was then occupied as 
a dwelling by Isaac Stanton. 

Amos Stanton, the father of Isaac and Rufus Stan- 
ton, came here to reside in 1805. He engaged in the 
manufacture, during the winter, of salt. That article 
then sold for three dollars per barrel. In 181 G the 
price had been reduced to two dollars per barrel, and 
in 1824 it was sold for $1.50 per barrel. 

Mr. Stanton then, in 1805, owned one square acre 
of ground, including the land now occupied by the 
old " Ogle Tavern," near the Oswego canal bridge on 
Salina street. Mr. Stanton had this acre of land 
cleared and converted into a wheat field. He also 
hired a few acres southeast of his lot, and worked the 
whole as a farm in the summer time. 

When the Oswego canal was built, they cut diag- 
onally through Mr. Stanton's acre. 

The Ogle Tavern was occupied as a private dwell- 
ing house in 1824. 

Mr. Bogardus, of the Mansion House, built a small 
frame house near the present site of Corinthian Hall, 
which he occupied while building the Mansion House. 
Paschal Thurber lived in it in 1824. The house stood 
on the bank of a small natural creek, since arched 

146 Cheney's reminiscences 

and formed into a sluice way for the passage of the 
surplus water of the new weigh lock. 

On the north side of the Oswego canal, the house 
lately known as "Church's Grocery," then belonged 
to the widow of Peter Wales, and was occupied by 
her as a dwelling house. 

The land north and east of Widow Waies' house 
was covered by a young growth of trees and under- 
brush, the only clearing being the patch of ground 
near the old Centre House, upon which Harry Blake 
had built himself a dwelling and commenced to farm 

There were no other dwellings between Syracuse 
and Salina. It was then two miles between the two 
places, and Salina street was a mere wagon track cut 
through the timber and known as Cooper street. The 
name was derived from the circumstance that several 
coopers put up shanties and used all of the available 
timber for the purpose of making salt barrels, about 
the year 180G. 

A little cluster of five or six cheaply built, white- 
washed houses, known as White Hall, stood on the 
first block north of the new Catholic church. 

I think there were three or four salt blocks stand- 
ing near the canal. They were built in the old fash- 
ioned style, with the side towards the canal, a chim- 
ney in the middle and a fire built at both ends of the 
block. I think there were two or three little houses 
near the blocks, occupied by the salt boilers. 


With the exception of these few buildings and a 
little patch of cleared land, formerly part of Stanton's 
farm, all that portion of the city lying north of the 
Erie and east of the Oswego canals, was covered with 
a heavy growth of timber and underbrush, with num- 
erous paths leading to the various spots where wood 
had been cut for the purpose of making salt. 

The first lock formerly stood but a few yards east 
of Mulberry street bridge. 

" Vinegar Hill " then, as now, consisted of several 
shanties and old rookeries, erected there to catch the 
trade of the passing boatmen. 

In 1840, Captain Joel Cody finished his contract 
for building the present first lock. The old one was 
torn down and " Vinegar Hill " removed to its present 

In 18"24, a small boat, half the size of the common 
boats of the present day, made regular trips every two 
hours between Syracuse and Salina. 

Augustus Spencer was the first captain of this boat. 
He was succeeded by Captain William Stewart, the 
present famous landlord of the Syracuse House. Cap- 
tain Stewart commanded his boat with great dignity, 
and treated his passengers with the utmost politeness 
and attention. The gallant captain exhibited as much 
pride while pacing the quarter deck of his small craft 
as do the commanders of the ocean steamers of the 
present day. 

14:8 Cheney's reminiscences 

The first circus that ever performed in Syra- 
cuse occupied the vacant lot on the corner of Church 
and Salina streets, at present occupied by the Onon- 
daga Temperance House. 

The first horse show was attended by nearly all 
the citizens, and a full delegation of Onondaga Indians ; 
and Syracuse immediately acquired a reputation as a 
" good show town," which it has preserved even to 
the present day. 

The success of this circus led to the building of a 
circus house in 1825 by Andrew N. Van Patten and 
John Rodgers, on the ground now occupied by the 
stables of the Onondaga Temperance House. This 
circus house was subsequently turned into a livery 
stable with a cooper's shop in the rear, and a long two 
story building, owned and occupied by Mr. Goings 
as a carpenter and joiner's shop, was erected on the 
towing path in the rear of the circus building with an 
alley of about twenty-five feet between the buildings. 

On the evening of Friday, August 20, 1841, a fire 
broke out in the carpenter's shop, which was occupied 
by Charles Goings. The building was soon sur- 
rounded by a crowd of firemen and citizens, using 
their utmost efforts to extinguish the flames, when 
suddenly a terrible explosion took place, filling the 
air with Hying cinders, and scattering death and 
destruction around. This catastrophe was one of the 
most distressing events that ever occurred in the 


history of this or any other city, and we have there- 
fore given a very full description of the calamity, 
copied from the files of papers of that year. 

[A condensed report from the newspaper files re- 
ferred to is as follows : The alarm of fire was given 
at half past nine o'clock. The wooden building 
situated on the tow path of the Oswego canal, nearly 
in the rear of the County Clerk's office and occupied 
as a joiner's shop by Charles Goings, was on fire. 
The fire appeared to have commenced in the top of 
the building. The cry of "Powder! Powder! There 
is powder in the building ! " was heard. The im- 
mense crowd rushed back, but the move was only 
momentary. Most of those nearest the fire maintained 
their position, and very few appeared to place any 
credit in the report. Suddenly, a tremendous explo- 
sion took place, completely extinguishing the fire and 
demolishing the building. The explosion lasted some 
three or four seconds, and its effects were felt for over 
twenty miles around. The noise of the explosion 
having ceased, all was still for a moment, and then 
the most heart-rending groans were distinctly heard. 
Everything was in total darkness. All was confusion. 
Although the sight of the dead and the dying was 
horrible, it was scarcely less than that of the living 
inquiring for their relatives — parents for their chil- 
dren, and wives, almost frantic with despair, for their 

150 cheney's reminiscences 

[On Saturday the village was shrouded in niourn- 
ing. The stores were all closed. Business was out 
of the question. Hundreds of people from the 
country towns came hurrying in, on learning the 
awful intelligence, to see the spot so fruitful with 
distress, and to know the jDarticulars of the sad affair. 
Sunday was a busy day in entombing the dead. 
Early in the day the funeral procession commenced 
from different directions, and from the several 
churches ; and there was one continual succession of 
corpses passing to the lonely sepulchre. The several 
churches were crowded. The clergymen were most 
solemn and impassioned in their addresses. A deeper 
sadness never pervaded so large congregations. 

[Parley Bassett, the Coroner, summoned the 
following persons to form a jury of inquest: Johnson 
Hall, as foreman; Pliny Dickinson, Lewis H. Red- 
field, D. S. Colvin, William A. Cook, Thomas T. 
Davis, Samuel Larned, Rial Wright, Philo D. 
Mickles, Harmon W. Van Buren, Daniel Elliott, 
Ashbel Kellogg, Thomas G. Alvord, Elijah W. 
Curtis, Jared H. Parker, Amos P. Granger. The 
Coroner's jury closed its business on Monday evening, 
August 23. The report showed that Hugh T. Gib- 
son, Ezra H. Hough, Thomas Betts, Elijah Jones, 
Zebina Dwight, William Conklin, Benjamin F. 
Johnson, Elisha Ladd, George W. Burdick, Isaac 
Stanton, William B. Close, George Gorman, Horace 


T. Goings, Charles A. Moffit, Loren L. Cheney, 
Horatio N. Cheney, John Dnrnford, jr., Hanson 
Maynard, Noah Hoyt, Joel Kohlharner, Matthew 
Smelt, James M. Barker, Charles Miller, Benjamin 
T. Barker, Charles Austin — twenty-five in number — 
came to their deaths by the explosion of 27 or 28 kegs 
of gunpowder in a carpenter and joiner's shop, then 
on fire. In the belief of the jury, the shop was set on 
fire by some person or persons unknown to the 
jurors. The powder was the property of William 
Malcolm and Albert A. Hudson, and was secretly 
stored in the shop by Mr. Hudson and Charles 
Goings, with the knowledge and consent of Mr. 
Malcolm, contrary to the published and known 
ordinances of the village, and without the cognizance 
or consent of the village Trustees. 

[A public meeting was held Monday evening, pre- 
sided over by Hiram Putnam, President of the village. 
D. D. Hillis was made Secretary. A committee was 
appointed to obtain subscriptions and to afford relief 
to those families who needed aid in their sudden 
bereavement. The committee from Syracuse was 
composed of Daniel Dana, M. D. Burnet, A. P. 
Granger, Charles L. Lynds, and Wing Russell; from 
Salina, Ashbel Kellogg and Colonel E. D. Hopping. 
At the meeting, about $1,800 was subscribed, of which 
amount the firm of Malcolm & Hudson subscribed 
$500, and William Malcolm $500.] 

152 cheney's reminiscences 

On the south side of the Erie canal and on the 
corner now occupied by Stone & Ball, jewelers, and 
Sabey & Weaver, hatters, there stood in 1824, a two- 
story frame building, known as the "Coffin Block." 
The name was given to the block on account of its 
fancied resemblance to that receptacle for the dead. 
The first and second stories on the extreme corner 
were then occupied by John Durnford as a book 
store, lottery ticket and printing office. 

From this corner the first number of the Onon- 
daga Gazette, the first paper ever issued in this city, 
was printed by John Durnford, our present worthy 
Justice of the Peace. The first number was issued 
Wednesday morning, April 2, 1823. In his 
"address " to the public, the publisher lays down the 
following views and principles : 

" Notwithstanding it may be said the State already 
abounds with newspapers, yet the rapid growth of 
the country, and the happy location of this village, in 
connection with its other advantages, are sufficient to 
warrant the belief that ere long Syracuse and its 
vicinity will afford an adequate support to this estab- 
lishment, and raise up a monumental trophy of the 
wisdom and enterprise of the canal projectors." 

The price of the paper was $2 per year, payable 
half yearly, when received from the office or sent to 
mail subscribers; but when sent to village subscribers 
it was 82.50. The Gazette was a weekly paper, 


published on a 12 by 17 sheet, four pages, with five 
columns to the page. On the 31st of March, 1824, 
the paper appeared under the name of the Syracuse 

The Syracuse Gazette was published by Mr. D urn- 
ford until 1829, when Lewis H. Bedfield of the 
Onondaga Register, then published at Onondaga 
Hollow, came to Syracuse, bought out Mr. Durnford 
and united the two papers under the name of The 
Syracuse Gazette and Onondaga Register. He con- 
tinued to publish this paper until 1831, when it was 
transferred to other hands. 

In 1824, Henry W. Durnford occupied the first 
store east of the Syracuse Gazette office, as a drug 
store. He also kept an assortment of groceries, 
crockery and liquors, and transacted a large and 
profitable business. 

That year it was deemed necessary, for the con- 
venience of the public, to remove the post-office, then 
under the charge of John Wilkinson, to some more 
convenient location than General Granger's store. 
Mr. Wilkinson made selection of Mr. Durnford's 
store as the location for the new post-office, and con- 
sulted with him in regard to the matter. Mr. Durn- 
ford raised the objection of a lack of room for all the 
purposes of the post-office. Mr. Wilkinson thought 
different, and to convince the incredulous storekeeper, 
crossed the canal and returned, bearing the whole 

154 cheney's reminiscences 

post-office, boxes, mail bags, mail matter, and all the 
appurtenances on Ms shoulders. This feat convinced 
Mr. Durnford that he had plenty of room, in which 
to accommodate the post-office. 

The first store east of the drug store was occupied 
by John Rodgers & Company, as a dry goods store. 
Mr. Rodgers was an energetic, enterprising man, and 
is now one of the millionaires of Chicago, and visits 
the scene of his early prosperity yearly. 

Between the store of Mr. Rodgers and the drug 
store, there was a wide hall-like entrance leading to 
the printing office in the second story, and the rooms 
occupied as a dwelling by Mr. Van Velzer. 

GeneralJonas Mann began in 1824 to build a store 
on the corner now occupied by the bookstore of Peck 
& Rudd. He also commenced to build as a dwelling 
house the present famous "Cook's Coffee House." 
He moved his family here the next season, and 
during the summer finished both buildings. 

Henry Newton occupied the first store east of Mr. 
Mann's building as a grocery and general assortment 
store. Mr. Newton afterwards formed a partnership 
with A. Root, in the boot and shoe business, on the 
north. side of the canal. 

Joseph Slocum carried on the dry goods business, 
and also kept a general assortment of wares and 
merchandise, next east of Mr. Newton's grocery. 

A. N. Van Patten carried on the dry goods, 


grocery and provision business in the first store east 
of Mr. Slocurn's grocery. 

Over the store a man by the name of Thompson 
kept a billiard table during the fall and winter. 

Deacon Phelps kept a stove store and grocery on 
the first floor, and a tin shop in the second story of 
the first building east of Mr. Van Patten's store. 
Between the tin shop and Warren street, there were a 
series of vacant lots. These lots were subsequently 
occupied by fine blocks of stores. In 1834, they were 
all reduced to a heap of smouldering ruins. The 
burning of these two blocks, comprising ten buildings 
of different dimensions, with eleven buildings on the 
north side of the canal, was the first great calamity 
that ever befell the embryo city. This fire occurred 
Friday night, March 15, 1834. The fire broke out in 
the store of B. F. Rodgers, nearly opposite the 
Syracuse House. The Syracuse House was saved by 
the greatest exertions. The east wing, containing the 
Onondaga County Bank, was several times on fire. 
The loss caused by the fire was about $75,000, of 
which one-half was insured. 

On the corner now occupied by Murphy, McCarthy 
& Company, hardware dealers, John Rodgers carried 
on in 1824, the storage, forwarding and commission 
business, in connection with his dry goods store. 
The building was burned down afterwards. 

White & Clark occupied the first store east, and 

156 cheney's reminiscences 

dealt in all descriptions of merchandise and produce. 
They were also engaged in the storage and commis- 
sion business in the building then standing next east 
of their store. 

Joseph Slocum occupied the first building east of 
White & Clark's storehouse, and carried on a general 
storage and commission business. There was but one 
other building then standing between Mr. Slocum's 
storehouse and the old canal basin. It was a little, 
low frame building, standing on the bank of the 
basin, partly hid by the bushes that grew in great 
profusion in that region. Joseph Thompson kept a 
small grocery in the building and derived most of his 
custom from the canal boatmen by furnishing them 
with "supplies." In 1824, the present site of the 
weigh-lock, market hall, hay market and public 
square, as far south as the railroad, there formed 
what was known as the canal basin. It was a 
miserable, nasty hole and was the dread of all the 
inhabitants, because it tainted and infected the whole 
atmosphere with disease. A small barn stood on the 
south side of this basin, with a path on one side 
leading into it, which was used as a watering place 
for cattle and horses. 

In 1824, Parley Howlett and Barent Filkins built 
a slaughter house on the ground, and the same house 
is at present occupied by Joe Tasker's well known 


Water street, east of the basin, had been laid off 
as a street, but had not been worked to any extent. 
A few trees and a quantity of underbrush had been 
cut and a few rails laid in the worst miring places, 
so that by [dint of hard work and hard swearing a 
team could be got through to old Mr. Russell's pot- 
tery. This pottery stood on the ground now occupied 
by James L. if Greenman, storage and commission 
house. It was carried on by an old man named Rus- 
sell, who manufactured jars, jugs, mugs, milk pans 
and all other articles commonly made at such estab- 
lishments. He resided in a small frame house a little 
south of his pottery. 

Mulberry street was almost impassible for teams 
in 1824, the ground being very low and marshy in 
that section. 

The^ State owned a small frame house on the heel- 
path side of the old first lock, which was known and 
used as a lock house. The building is now standing 
and forms part of Hatch, Rust & Randall's lumber 
and coal office. 

In 1824 all that portion of our city lying between 
Mulberry street and Lodi on the south side of the 
canal was an unreclaimed cedar swamp. The present 
Fayette Park with the splendid residences of our 
merchants and business men was then a favorite 
resort for foxes, rabbits and wild fowl, forming a 
capital shooting ground. North and east of the park 


the sonorous croakings of the bull frog served to 
enliven the otherwise dismal scenery. 

This swamp was full of rotten logs and stumps 
from which issued a deadly miasma containing the 
whole list of fevers, from the fever and ague to the 
typhoid and brain fever. The Genesee turnpike 
passed through this swamp and consisted of an ill 
laid corduroy road that tested the strength of horses 
and wagons and the skill and moral training of all 
teamsters having occasion to pass it. 

Captain Oliver Teall owned and run two small saw 
mills on the north side of the Erie canal, near the Lodi 
locks. He obtained the water which moved his mills 
by tapping the canal. He was then Canal Superin- 
tendent under Henry Seymour, Canal Commissioner, 
and obtained the right to use the water for running 
his mills from the State. 

It was this successful tapping of the great " Clin- 
ton Ditch " that gave the well known captain such a 
decided partiality to cold water over all other fluids. 
It was this very tapping of the Erie which led him to 
conceive and carry out the grand idea of tapping 
mother earth, filling a huge reservoir with the crystal 
nectar, and forcing it through great iron arteries and 
veins to the very heart and extremities of our flour- 
ishing city. 

The captain lived in a small house built by the 
State for a lock house. There were about a dozen 


little houses scattered about the locks, and occupied 
by the employes on the locks and the canal. 

John H. Lathrop kept a tavern in a medium-sized 
house, standing on the block lying southeast of the 
orphan asylum on the Genesee turnpike. He had a 
fine well on his premises affording the best water in 
the country. People coming from the east to trade or 
barter in Syracuse would stop with Mr. Lathrop, and 
from his house they would go to the village and trade 
during the day, returning as the shades of evening 
fell on the gloomy swamp to his house for food and 
lodging. They did this in preference to putting up 
at one of the village taverns and running the risk of 
the ague. 

At that time Syracuse was considered as the most 
unhealthy spot in the valley, and people were inclined 
to believe that the city would be built on the Lodi 
hills in preference to the middle of a cedar swamp. 
But the projectors and proprietors of the embryo city 
did not waver even for an instant in their choice of a 
location for the village. The present large, flourish- 
ing, healthy, wealthy city is the reward of their judg- 
ment and faith. 

The " Holden House" stood nearly opposite of Mr. 
Lathrop's tavern, and was then used as a dwelling. 

At the foot of the hill, near the swamp, on the 
Genesee turnpike, Lemuel J. Benton commenced in 
lS'io to manufacture brick. 


Henry Shattuck, the present policeman, and Abner 
Chapman, Supervisor from Onondaga, worked as 
moulders in this brick yard. 

Coming west from the brick yard the mind's eye 
found nothing to remember, nothing to describe, but 
a low sickly cedar swamp and corduroy road, until you 
reached what now forms a large part of the heart of 
our city. 

This swamp was the fear of all the inhabitants and 
the dread of all in search of a location for a future 
residence. But the art of man has reclaimed the 
" Dismal Swamp," and it now forms one of the most 
beautiful and healthy sections of the city. 

Samuel Phelps kept a blacksmith shop on the lot 
now occupied by the Home Association. The shop was 
in a two-story building, with the front towards Gen- 
esee street. The second story Mr. Phelps occupied as a 
dwelling. The family reached their rooms by means of 
an outside pair of stairs. The ground upon which the 
shop stood was so low and marshy that the fall rains 
made a large pond all around the building. In the 
winter this pond formed a famous skating ground for 
the boys of the village. 

In 1824, the remains of a small log house, formerly 
standing on the southwest corner of Genesee and Mont- 
gomery streets, were visible. In this house Albion 
Jackson was born about the year 1802. Mr. Jackson 
was the first white child born within the limits of this 


city. Shortly after his birth, Mr. Jackson's father 
moved to Canada and was gone for some eighteen 
years before he returned. 

The ground upon which the Granger block now 
stands was, in 1824, a fine little green meadow. That 
year John Durnford, Archy Kasson and John Rodgers 
were appointed a committee by the Episcopal Society, 
authorized and empowered to select a site for a church 

Mr. Durnford advocated the selection of this 
meadow as the proposed site. The other members of 
the committee offered an objection to the lot "that it 
was too far from the village," but finally coincided 
with Mr. Durnford in his choice, and the committee 
reported accordingly. The report was adopted, and 
immediate measures taken to erect the necessary 

Deacon Wright obtained the contract for perform- 
ing the carpenter work, and assumed the general su- 
perintendence of putting up the building. The build- 
ing was completed in the year 1825. It was used a 
number of years by the Episcopalians, and then sold 
to the Roman Catholics, who removed it to the corner 
of Montgomery and Madison streets, where it is still 

The millinery store of Mrs. Gillmore was erected 
in 182-4 by John Rodgers, then one of the most 
enterprising men in the village. The mason work 


was performed by a man from Manlius, named 

On the ground now occupied by the Bastable 
block, there stood, in 1824, a little frame house 
occupied by a Mr. Walker. These were the only 
buildings then standing on the block opposite the 
Granger block. 

A small, yellow building, was then standing next 
east of "Cook's Coffee House," which has since been 
moved back and a brick front built to it. 

Henry Van Husen owned and occupied a black- 
smith shop on the corner of Genesee and Warren 
streets, where the Tremont House now stands. His 
shop was a hard-looking concern, and was not much 
of an ornament to the village, even in those primitive 
days. The building stood about a foot and a half 
below the level of the mud sidewalk. His customers 
used to complain of the distance to be traveled and 
the great depth of mud to be waded through before 
his shop could be reached from the village. In rainy 
weather it was almost impossible to reach his shop 
on account of the mud. 

The street and square was then some four feet 
lower than at the present day, and formed one of the 
worst roads for the passage of teams that can be 
imagined. I have frequently seen teams with an 
ordinary load get set in the deep mud, and remain for 
some time before they could be extricated. 


Henry Durnford resided in a small white house on 
the ground now occupied by Gay's Hotel. The house 
fronted the south. He had a white fence around his 
lot, and a beautiful flower garden in front of his 
house. It was a very pretty, cozy, little dwelling. 

About the year 1820, Buel & Safford purchased 
the ground now occupied by the Syracuse House, and 
commenced the erection of the Syracuse Hotel. 
During the progress of the building, Mr. Safford fell 
from the scaffolding and was killed. This accident 
caused a temporary suspension of the work, until the 
property went into the possession of Mr. Eckford, 
who completed the building in 1822. 

The building was of brick, three stories in height, 
fifty feet scpiare, with a roof pitching north and south, 
with brick battlements on the east and west ends, and 
chimneys on the ends of the upper brake. The front 
entrance was through the present shoe store of T. 

The stables stood well back from Genesee street, 
extending nearly to the present railroad depot. There 
was a large yard attached to the house and stables, 
in which stood a number of old dilapidated out-build- 
ings. The entrance to the yard was through a large 
gateway, then standing on the present site of Butler, 
Townsend & Company's dry goods store. 

After the premises fell into the hands of the Syra- 
cuse Company they were rebuilt and named the 


Syracuse House. The original building has since been 
enlarged and improved, and is now one of the best 
hotels in this region. 

James Mann was the landlord of the Syracuse 
Hotel, which was then the headquarters of the differ- 
ent lines of stages. In 1824 Jason C. Woodruff drove 
stage between Elbridge and this place. He performed 
the duties of his office with great dignity, and was 
wont to wheel his favorite coach up to the door of the 
Syracuse Hotel with an exhibition of great skill and 
training. From the post of driver, Mr. Woodruff, by 
his own unaided exertions, raised himself into the 
position of proprietor of a line of stages, and has since 
filled several offices of trust and honor in the county, 
with credit to himself and satisfaction to his fellow 

Colonel Elijah Phillips had his stage office in an 
east room of the Syracuse Hotel. The Colonel was 
very prompt and exact in his business operations, and 
for years a stage never drew up to his office without 
finding him ready to give or receive the way bill. It 
was a common expression in those days that "Time 
and Colonel Phillips wait for no man." 

Next east of the gate leading to the stables of the 
Syracuse House, a man named Waterbury owned a 
small frame building. On the first floor he kept a 
little grocery. His stock in trade consisted of a 
small quantity of poor whiskey, a few plugs of 


tobacco, a handful of pipes, and about eighty-eight 
cents worth of comic valentines. His family lived in 
the second story and reached their place of residence 
by means of a flight of stairs built on the outside of 
the building. That year Joel Owens bought out 
Waterbury's establishment, and still remains in 
possession of the property. 

Next east of Waterbury's, there was standing a 
two-story building, considerable larger than its 
western neighbor. The first floor was occupied as a 
dwelling house. The second story was occupied by 
Jabez Hawley, as a chair factory. These old build- 
ings were rather unprepossessing in their appearance, 
being of a dirty wood color, from having never made 
the improving acquaintance of a paint pot and brush. 

A small house stood next east of Mr. Hawley's 
shop, which was occupied by a person whose name is 
forgotten, as a grocery and drinking house. It was 
originally painted white, but the color had worn off, 
and in 1824 the house had a forlorn and dingy appear- 
ance. Between this house and the blacksmith shop 
on the corner of "Warren and Genesee streets, the 
ground was vacant. 

Archy Kasson built a dwelling house in 182-4, on 
the ground now occupied by the Central Railroad 
company's ticket office. 

The square upon which now stands the Onondaga 
County Bank, Bank of Syracuse, . Dillaye block, 


Episcopal church and St. Charles Hotel, was in 1824 
a vacant lot, covered with a few scattered trees. 

In 1825, " The First Presbyterian Society of Syra- 
cuse" built a church on the ground now occupied by the 
new and beautiful Dillaye block. The church was 
finished in the fall and dedicated in January, 1826. 
The original church was enlarged and improved 
several years ago, but in 1819 the increasing demands 
of the society rendered it necessary to build a new 
edifice. It was accordingly sold, and the present 
ornament to the city erected in 1850. 

The Rev. Dr. John W. Adams was ordained and 
installed pastor of the new church in June, 1826. Dr. 
Adams continued to act in that capacity until death 
claimed him as her own in 1850. Dr. Adams was a 
very exemplary man. He centered and united the 
affections of his whole flock about his great heart, 
and died after a long life of usefulness and devotion 
to his God, deeply mourned by all who ever had the 
pleasure and profit of his acquaintance. 

This entire square, with the exception of the 
church lot, was afterwards offered to the county free 
of charge, if the Supervisors would agree to build the 
courthouse and jail upon it. After some deliberation 
on the matter, the offer was refused by the Board. 

A small unpainted house, with an L, stood nearly 
on the opposite site of the Washington block. The 
main part of this house was occupied by Widow 


Stewart, and the L by a Mr. Wheeler. Mrs. Stewart is 
the mother-in-law of John Hurst, our worthy Justice 
of the Peace. She is now over eighty years of age, 
straight and active as a girl of eighteen. She was 
one of the early settlers of this county, and formerly 
resided at Liverpool. 

A farm house belonging to the Syracuse Company, 
and occupied by Jacob Hausenfrats, stood on the 
present site of Captain Thomas Wheeler's residence, 
on what was then a little knoll. The barn stood on 
the ground now occupied by the residence of William 
B. Kirk, and a corn house stood a little east of the 

Mr. Hausenfrats worked the farm on shares for 
the company, and had a large wheat field, extending 
from the First Methodist church west, nearly on the 
line of Jefferson street, to his house. Between the 
house and village, a small brook, called Yellow 
Brook, ran from the swamp and emptied into the old 
mill pond. The passage of water through this brook 
had cut a ravine over fifteen feet deep where it 
crossed Salina street. Previous to 1824, there was a 
bridge across this brook, on Salina street, but by 
means of a sluice, the ravine had been partly filled up, 
and the bridge removed. 

All south of the wheat field was a young unclaimed 
forest, thickly overgrown with underbrush. 

Zophar H. Adams manufactured brick in 1824, 


on the west side of Salina street, a little south of the 
farm house. I think Dr. Westcott's residence stands 
on the ground then used as a brick-yard. 

South Salina street was then full six feet higher 
than at the present day, and very irregular, passing 
over a series of mounds or hillocks, the whole 
distance, making a bad road to travel with a loaded 

That portion of our city now known as Onondaga 
street, or Cinder road, was in 1824 a cedar swamp, 
with any quantity of old logs, stumps and trunks of 
fallen trees, slowly going to decay, and filling the air 
with noxious vapors. Wherever the land was 
sufficiently firm and dry to afford a suitable soil, there 
a very luxuriant growth of blackberry bushes had 
sprung up, yielding innumerable quarts of that 
delicious fruit. 

This swamp was also a great resort for game, and 
has been the scene of many hunting and blackberry- 
ing adventures to the children of a larger growth, as 
well as to the youth of Syracuse and vicinity. The 
swamp extended from the pond as far as Colonel 
Johnson's present residence. 

That year, the proprietor of Mickles' Furnace gen- 
erously appropriated the cinders formed by his furnace, 
to the filling up of the road through the swamp. A 
cart with two horses, driven tandem, and a man to 
load, drive and deposit the cinders, was furnished by 


the Syracuse Company, and the drawing of cinders 
was continued until a coat of them had been placed 
on the road a foot and a half thick. This gave it the 
name of Cinder road, which it has ever since retained. 

A man named Finch lived in a small log house 
near the reservoir on the Cinder road. This man was 
very dissipated, and finally died in that house. 

Thurlow Weed's father lived, previous to 1824, on 
the Cinder road near Colonel Johnson's, in a small 
log house. 

The canal basin, between Salina and Clinton streets, 
was not as large in 1824 as at the present time. It 
was so narrow as scarcely to afford turning room for 
even the small boats used in those days. When an 
extra amount of water was let into the canal the banks 
of this basin were frequently overflowed, and the cel- 
lars in the vicinitv filled with water. 

A small foot bridge, with stairs on each end, spanned 
the canal several yards east of the present Clinton 
street bridge. At the foot of this bridge on the south- 
east side, Deacon Chamberlain, father-in-law of ex- 
Mayor Stevens, kept a meat market in a small frame 
building painted yellow. 

Hiram Hyde kept two store houses adjoining each 
other on the ground now occupied by the old Raynor 
block, a little west of Clinton street bridge. Mr. Hyde 
was a son-in-law of Joshua Forman, and a man of 
enterprise and integrity. He died in 1825 of con- 

170 Cheney's reminiscences 

There were no other buildings on the north side of 
Water street, between Salina street and Onondaga 

LeGrand and William Crowfoot carried on the man- 
ufacture of brick on the ground at present occupied 
by Greenway's Malt House on West Water street. 

In the spring of 1824, Kasson & Heermans carried 
on the hardware business in a small wooden building- 
standing on the corner of Salina and Water streets. 
During the summer they tore down the wooden build- 
ing and erected a three-story brick block seventy feet 
deep. The building was afterwards occupied by Hor- 
ace and Charles A. Wheaton as a hardware store, and 
in 1810 it was destroyed by fire, together with a long 
row of small wooden buildings, extending nearly to 
the Townsend block. 

Wieting block and hall was erected and finished 
during the years 1849-50. On the 5th of January, 
1856, one of the coldest days during the winter, this 
beautiful block was burned to the ground. Dr. Wiet- 
ing at once took measures for the erection of a new 
block if possible larger, better and more beautiful 
than the former one. 

Cheney & Wilcox obtained the contract for per- 
forming the mason work on the building. Under 
their combined efforts and the superintending eyes of 
Dr. Wieting and H. N. White, the architect, the 
building rose like a phoenix from the ashes, larger, 


better and more substantial and beautiful than the 
former splendid block. The hall is one of the best in 
the State, and is not excelled out of New York in 
point of convenience and beauty. The Doctor deserves 
great credit for his unremitted exertions and lavish 
expenditure of money. The new hall was dedicated 
on the 9th of December, 1856, eleven months from the 
date of the destruction of the former building. 

During the summer of 1824, William Malcolm put 
up a frame building on the ground now forming the 
centre of the Wieting block on Water street. He 
occupied this building the following spring as a hard- 
ware store. Mr. Malcolm also built a dwelling house 
on the present site of the Malcolm block. The Syra- 
cuse Company put up three or four small wooden 
buildings west of Malcolm's, which they let to different 
persons as stores and groceries. 

Moses D. Burnet occupied a small frame building- 
standing a little frest of the Syracuse Company's store, 
as an office. A large hickory tree stood in front of his 
office, affording a fine shade. Major Burnet was an 
energetic, enterprising man, and in the spring of 1824 
was appointed the agent of the Syracuse Company. 
He has since occupied several offices of profit and trust 
with ability and success. He was once elected Mayor 
of the city, but refused to serve. The Major is a 
whole-souled man, and is now quietly enjoying the 
rewards of his early labors. 


Ambrose Kasson lived in a small frame house 
standing a little west of Major Burnet's office. John 
Durnford occupied a dwelling next west of Mr. Kas- 
son's. These two houses had very pretty yards in 
front, filled with flower beds and shrubbery. 

Dr. M. Williams came to this place in 1824, and 
established himself in the practice of medicine. The 
Doctor for some months kept his office in the front 
room over General Granger's store, and boarded with 
him. He then moved to the south side of the canal, 
and occupied a part of Judge Forman's office, and 
boarded in his family. He subsequently became the 
son-in-law of Judge Forman. 

The Doctor was a hard-working, go-ahead man, 
and by his influence contributed greatly to the pros- 
perity of the embryo city. The village was known 
throughout the country as a most unhealthy locality. 
The Doctor combatted the idea with all his powers, 
claiming that the day was not far distant when the 
village would be a " city of refuge" for consumption 
patients. The prediction, to our knowledge, has 
proven true in a large number of cases, and we can 
safely claim that Syracuse is one of the most healthy 
localities in the State. Dr. Williams of to-day is the 
Dr. Williams of 1824, in dress and personal appear- 
ance. He does not appear to change or grow old in 
the least. 

Clinton street was not passable for teams in 1824. 


Judge Joshua Forman moved to this place in the fall 
of 1819, and occupied as a dwelling the house now 
standing next west of the " Climax House " on Water 
street. In 1821 he was still living inthe same house, 
and had a large garden extending from Clinton street 
down Water street to Franklin street, and back to 
Fayette street. The garden was well stocked with 
fruit, and was tended by a Protestant Irishman, named 
Montgomery, a very intelligent, faithful man. The 
Judge was the father of the canal and of Syracuse. 

Colonel Stone, formerly editor of the New York 
Commercial Advertiser, in giving an account of a 
western journey, compares Syracuse in 1820 with 
Syracuse in 1810 in the following language: "Mr. 
Forman was in one sense the father of the canal. 
That is, being a member of the Legislature in 1807, 
he moved the first resolution of inquiry upon the sub- 
ject of opening a channel of artificial navigation from 
the Hudson river to the great lakes. And from that 
day to the completion of the stupendous work, in 1825, 
his exertions were unremitting and powerful in the 
cause. Passing as the canal does, close by the head 
of Onondaga lake, within a toss of a biscuit of some 
of the salt springs, and within two miles of the prin- 
cipal and strongest fountain at Salina, Mr. Forman 
saw the immense advantages which the site of this 
place presented for a town; with the completion of 
the middle section of the canal, Syracuse was begun. 

174 chexey's reminiscences 

At the period of my first visit, but a few scattered and 
indifferent wooden houses had been erected amid the 
stumps of the recently felled trees. I lodged for a 
night at a miserable tavern, thronged by a company of 
salt boilers from Saiina, forming a group of about as 
rough looking specimens of humanity as I had ever 
seen. Their wild visages, beards thick and long, 
matted hair, even now rise up in dark, distant and 
picturesque perspective before me. J passed a restless 
night, disturbed by strange fancies, as I yet well 
remember. It was in October and a flurry of snow 
during the night had rendered the morning aspect of 
the country more dreary than the evening before. 
The few houses I have already described, standing 
upon low and almost marshy ground, and surrounded 
by trees and entangled thickets, presented a very un- 
inviting scene. 'Mr. Forman,' said I, 'do you call 
this a village ? It would make an owl weep to fly over 
it.' ' Never mind,' said he in reply, ' you will live to 
see it a city yet.' 

"These words were prophetical. The contrast be- 
tween the appearance of the town then and now is 
wonderful. A city it now is in extent, and the mag- 
nitude and durability of its dwellings. 

' ' As I glanced upward and around, upon splendid 
hotels, rows of massive buildings in all directions, and 
the lofty spires of churches glittering in the sun, and 
traversed the extended and well built streets, thronged 


"with people full of life and activity — the canal basins 
crowded with boats lading and unlading at the large 
and lofty stone warehouses upon the wharves — the 
change seemed like one of enchantment." 

Judge Forman went to Washington to see Thomas 
Jefferson in regard to the canal, but did not meet with 
success, that great statesman remarking: " You are 
a hundred years too soon with your project." The 
Judge met and overcame all obstacles in his project 
of building a city at this point, and so long as Syra- 
cuse preserves a place in the list of cities, Joshua For- 
man will be known and honored by its inhabitants. 

Judge Webb built the stone house lately used as a 
United States recruiting office, on Water street, in 
1824, and occupied it as a dwelling house. 

The first burying ground in Syracuse comprised a 
little knoll on Fayette street, near its junction with 
Clinton street. Fifteen or twenty persons were buried 
there, and their bodies have never been removed. 
Thousands are constantly passing over the ground, 
wholly unconscious that they are passing over the last 
resting place of those who once as proudly trod the 
soil of Syracuse. 

The old burying ground on Water and Franklin 
streets was laid out in 1819 by John Wilkinson and 
Owen Forman, at the same time they laid out the 
" Walton Tract " into village lots. The first person 
buried there was the wife of Deacon Spencer, sister of 

176 cheney's reminiscences 

G. B. Fish, of this city. The second person buried 
there was a Mr. West, a circus rider, who was killed 
by a fall in the old circus house. 

The old log dam across the creek on Water street 
was removed in 1824, and a large stone one erected in 
its place. The dam stood where Water street bridge 
now crosses the creek. The pond extended over a 
great extent of country, running up to the then new 
cemetery, up Fayette street to the old cemetery and 
up Clinton street to the Cinder road. In 1849, this 
pond was filled up by earth conveyed from Prospect 
Hill, and the great cause of sickness and death in our 
city was effectually removed. The ground thus made 
is now partly occupied by the freight depot and works 
of the Binghamton railroad, the coal yards of Messrs. 
Cobb and Hatch, Rush & Company, the residence of 
Jason C. Woodruff and a number of other buildings. 

An old saw mill, pretty much used up, stood a 
little east of the stone mill, and was run by Maron 
Lee as sawyer. 

The stone mill was built in 1825 by Samuel Booth 
for the Syracuse Company. 

A man named Clapp, familiarly known as " Old 
Sandy," lived in the swamp on the ground at present 
covered by the round house of the Central Railroad 
Company. He was a very eccentric man. 

The rest of the country west of the creek was a 
swamp full of rotten logs, stumps, brush, etc., the 
fear of all the inhabitants. 


James Pease came here in 1824, from Lyons, by 
the canal, and brought a small frame house on a boat, 
which he put upon the ground now occupied by the 
Mechanics' Bank. In this house, Mr. Pease manufac- 
tured and sold boots and shoes for a great many years. 
He was a very exemplary man, and was liked and 
respected by the whole village. 

In 1824, an alley was, by common consent, left open 
between Kasson & Company's hardware store, on the 
corner and Mr. Pease's shop, for the purpose of allow- 
ing teams to pass to the rear of the stores fronting on 
Water street. This alley was to remain open forever, 
but it is now covered by one of Dr. Wieting's splendid 

In 1824, Theodore Ashley bought out a man named 
Kneeland, who kept a chair factory next south of 
James Pease's shoe shop. Mr. Ashley entered into 
the manufacture of chairs and cabinet ware, and con- 
tinued in the same branch of business until the time 
of his death in 1855. Mr. Ashley was a prompt busi- 
ness man, and fair in all his dealings. He was for 
several years City Sexton and died regretted by a large 
circle of friends and accpiaintances. 

There was standing in 1824, on the ground now cov- 
ered by the Syracuse City Bank, an old frame build- 
ing occupied for various purposes. In 1828, Grove 
Lawrence removed this old building and erected in its 
stead a fine brick block. 

lTs Cheney's reminiscences 

In 1819, John Wilkinson, in company with Owen 
Forman, a brother of the Judge, came here from Onon- 
daga Hollow, and under the direction of Judge For- 
man proceeded to lay out the Walton Tract into 
village lots. This survey was not accomplished with- 
out the severest labor. The old lines and marks of 
the tract were nearly obliterated, and it was with the 
greatest difficulty that they found with any degree of 
certainty the starting point of the original survey. 
The survey was completed after several weeks of hard 
labor. Part of the Walton Tract was laid out into 
village lots, and the remainder into farm lots of from 
five to ten acres. After the completion of the survey, 
Mr. Wilkinson built an office on the corner now occu- 
pied by the Globe Hotel, and commenced the practice 
of law. The office was a small one, being but twelve 
by fourteen, and Mr. Wilkinson was heartily ridiculed 
for putting his office out in the fields. That location 
now forming the business centre of our flourishing 
city was then out of town. 

In February, 1820, a post-office was established in 
Syracuse, and Mr. Wilkinson was appointed postmas- 
ter. In May, 1 S "2 -t , when the first election for village 
officers was held, Mr. Wilkinson was elected clerk. 

Mr. Wilkinson has since held several offices of 
profit and trust, with honor and distinction. When 
railroads were first successfully put in operation, Mr. 

Wilkinson closely investigated their workings and 


principles, and his gigantic mind comprehending on 
the instant their immense advantages and ultimate 
supersedence over the common post roads, he entered 
at once largely into railroad affairs, and is now em- 
phatically a railroad king. He was for several years 
President of the Syracuse and Utica railroad, and by 
his influence succeeded in having the work shops of 
that road built at Syracuse, thus adding the hardy 
population of the Fifth ward to our city. He is now 
the President of the Michigan Southern road, and 
under his skillful management that road is now one 
of the best in the Union. Mr. Wilkinson is a great 
favorite with the traveling public, and is loved and 
respected by all railroad men, who would do anything 
for him. 

In 1824, Mr. Wilkinson built a residence a little 
southwest of his office, where he resided a number of 
years. He now lives in one of the most beautiful 
palaces on James street. Mr. Heermans built a house 
a little south of Mr. Wilkinson's, which he occupied 
as a dwelling for a number of years. 

The Syracuse Company built a frame house in 
1824, on the ground at present covered by D. McCar- 
thy & Company's mammoth stores. 

Kirk's Tavern was built by John Garrison in 1824. 
The house is now standing, and is kept by E. G. 
Smith. At the time it was built, the mud on Salina 
street was hardly wadeable. Overshoes were of no 


account in those clays, and boots were hardly a 
protection against the mud and water. Mechanics at 
work in the village refused to board there, giving as 
a reason that the house was so far out from the main 
village, and the street was so muddy they could not 
get to their meals. Mr. Kirk came here in 1826, and 
opened the house as a tavern. He was for a number 
of years the sole proprietor, and enjoyed the reputa- 
tion of being a first-rate landlord. He was a favorite 
with the country people, and his house was always 
filled with them. He retired from active life several 
years ago, and is now quietly enjoying his well- 
earned riches. None know him but to love and 
respect him. 

A man named White built a small frame house on 
the ground now occupied by the gothic house a little 
south of the Pike block. There were no other 
buildings on the south side of the canal in 1824. 

Salina street, from the canal to Fayette street,was 
then from three to four feet lower than at the present 
day, and during the spring and fall was nearly 
impassable from the great depth of mud. There were 
no sidewalks, and pedestrians were comj)elled to pick 
their way along the street as best they could. Teams 
frequently would get set in the mud, and require 
great exertions to extricate them. This portion of 
the street has since been filled up, and the southern 
portion been cut down to its present level. 


The land west of Salina street was then covered 
with scattered pine trees, oak underbrush, fallen 
logs and old stumps, down to the creek and pond, 
which have all long since bowed their heads to the 
dust and given place to the stately stores and resi- 
dences of our merchants and business men. 

Game of all kinds then abounded in great profu- 
sion in the valley, and the crack of the sportsman's 
rifle was heard where now are our most populous 
streets. What was in 1820 designated as a place 
which would cause "an owl to weep" when flying 
over its broad territory, has now become a large, 
prosperous, growing city, whose name is known 
throughout the length and breadth of the land. A 
Syracusan can now be found in every corner of the 
earth, and the exclamation: "I hail from Syracuse," 
is almost as common as "There goes a Yankee." 
" Syracuse salt " and " Syracuse isms " are spoken of 
in every place in the Union. 

The family of John Savage was the first Irish 
family that located in Syracuse. Mr. Savage was the 
father of Richard Savage of this city. He was a 
jovial, whole-souled man, and a general favorite in 
the village. 

The only colored family residing in Syracuse in 
1824, was the family of Isaac Wales. " Uncle Ike" 
came to Manlius from Maryland, as a slave of the 
Fleming family, about the year 1810. He worked on 


the canal while it was being dug, and soon accumu- 
lated enough nioney to purchase his freedom. Eighty 
dollars was the stipend and price which he paid for 
himself. He married soon after obtaining his 
liberty, and settled in this place, which has ever since 
been his home. 

Andrew Fesennieyer was the first German that 
located in Syracuse. 

Captain Jonathan Thayer came here in 1824:. He 
was a very useful and humane man, and in nursing 
the sick of the village he was always ready and willing 
to grant his services. In 1832, when the cholera 
prevailed here to such an alarming extent, he over- 
taxed his constitution in taking care of Elder Gilbert, 
Pastor of the First Baptist church, and others. The 
last person he laid out was Dr. Day. He performed 
this melancholy duty at 12 o'clock noon, and before 
midnight he had gone to his final resting place, 
mourned by all who knew him. 

On the 1st of March, 1800, an act passed the 
Legislature, creating the town of Salina. On the 
•20th of March, 1809, the first town meeting under 
this act was held at the house of Cornelius Schouten 
in Salina village. Syracuse then formed part of the 
town of Salina, and was not incorporated as a village 
until the winter of 1824-25. Up to that time Syracuse 
flourished under town laws, together with such rules 
and regulations as were from time to time adopted by 


mutual consent, and acknowledged as the established 
regulations of the embryo city. 

At a meeting of the freeholders and inhabitants of 
the village of Syracuse, held pursuant to notice, at 
the school house in said village, on Tuesday, the 3rd 
day of May, 1825, the following officers were chosen 
and proceedings had : Trustees, Joshua Forman, Amos 
P. Granger, Moses D. Burnet, Heman Walbridge and 
John Rodgers; Clerk, John Wilkinson; Treasurer, 
John Durnf ord ; Pound Master, Henry Young; Con- 
stables, Jesse D. Rose and Henry W. Durnf ord; 
Overseers of Highways, First District, Henry Young; 
Second District, John Garrison. This statement of 
the meeting is certified to by Daniel Gilbert, Justice 
of the Peace, Syracuse, May 3, 1825. 

I stated in a former chapter of the "Reminiscences 
of Syracuse" that Frederick Horner was the only man 
now living in this city who had ever seen General 
Washington. In casting my eye over the city at that 
time, I did not thiuk of the venerable Major S. S. 
Forman, although I had frequently conversed with 
him about Washington, his dress and personal appear- 
ance, and also about the evacuation of New York by 
the British army. Major Forman did not tell me his 
age, but he is a venerable man. His brothers were 
officers in the American army during the Revolution. 
They were stationed in New Jersey and were engaged 
in the battle of Monmouth and several other severe 

184 Cheney's reminiscences 

engagements fought in that State. Major Forman is 
a man of wealth, and has filled several public offices 
in this 'State with honesty and ability, and has always 
borne an unblemished character throughout a long 
and useful life. He is one of the last of that indom- 
itable race of men who lived during the Revolution, 
and no history has yet recorded the names of their 

I have been kindly furnished by Mrs. John O'Blen- 
nis of Salina, with the following facts in regard to the 
early settlement of that portion of our city. Mrs. 
O'Blennis is now over seventy years of age, and her 
memory in regard to the early settlement of Salina is 
as perfect as though the occurrences which she relates 
had taken place within a year. She is the daughter 
of Isaac Van Vleck, one of the first settlers in Salina. 

Mr. Van Vleck moved to Salina from New Gal way, 
in Saratoga county, with a family of four children. 
He arrived in Salina on the 2nd day of March, 1792. 
Mr. Van Vleck's family was the sixth family that set- 
tled in Salina. A Mr. Whitcomb came to Salina with 
Mr. Van Vleck. They found at Salina a Mr. Hopkins, 
engaged in the manufacture of salt in what were then 
called " salt works." 

These salt works consisted of an eight or ten-pail 
kettle hung to different poles, each end of the pole 
being placed in the crotch of a post set in the ground, 
and a fire built under the kettles between a few stones 


which were laid up on each side to condense the heat, 
and no improvement has been made on that mode 
since that time. The salt manufactured at that time 
was of a greyish color. This color was produced by 
boiling the bitterns in and mixing them with the pure 
salt. The art of separating the impurities of the salt 
was discovered by a Mr. Dexter, a blacksmith, two or 
three years after that date. 

John Danforth, a brother of General Asa Danf orth, 
lived in Salina in 1792, and was engaged in the man- 
ufacture of salt. He was one of the few fortunate 
enough to own a kettle large enough to make salt in. 
He sold the salt for fifty cents per bushel at the works. 

Pharis Gould, father of Pharis Gould of this 
county, lived in Salina in 1792. He was also a salt 

A surveyor by the name of Josiah Olcott was a 
resident of Salina at that time. He was engaged in 
laying of and surveying the roads in and about the 
country, and in laying out the streets of the village 
then in embryo. When not engaged in surveying he 
was employed as an adviser and middle-man about 
the salt works. 

There was also a man by the name of Sturge, with 
his family, then living at Salina. Mr. Loomis was 
also a resident there at that time. James Peat and 
several others came that year. 

These early settlers were all attracted there by, 


186 cheney's reminiscences 

and had something to do with, the manufacture of 
salt. They lived very highly on game and fish, of 
which there was a very great supply. 

The Onondaga lake and creek were filled with as 
fine salmon and other varieties of fish as were ever 
eaten by any people. The inhabitants were supplied 
with fish and game by the Indians in great abundance. 

There were no clearings in or around the village 
except here and there a place where nature had refused 
to do its work of rearing lofty trees, and had left a 
small prairie-like spot of green. These places the 
emigrants took to cultivate and settle upon. There 
was such an open space near the salt spring, a little 
south of the pump house. There were also several 
such open spots on each side of Onondaga creek that 
were occujried by the Onondaga Indians ; they having 
built small brush and bark huts, which they used 
while fishing and hunting, but not as permanent resi- 
dences. Their permanent place of abode was where 
the present Indian castle and village now stand. 

There were a great many Indians belonging to this 
tribe living at that time. They were continually rov- 
ing in all directions, seeking game and watching their 

At that time there was not a very good feeling ex- 
isting between our people and the inhabitants of 
Canada and the frontier. 

The Indians had a perfect knowledge of all that 


transpired on the frontier. This knowledge they com- 
municated from tribe to tribe by means of runners. 
They had a perfect and systematic arrangement of 
this human telegraph, by means of which they com- 
municated with each other from Albany to Buffalo 
with the greatest precision and despatch. 

The head chief, Kiactdote, was one of the most 
cautious and observing men that ever ruled this tribe. 
He had perfect command of them, and exerted a great 
influence over them. To illustrate his power, I must 
relate an incident which took place in 1793. 

At Green Point, on one of the small prairies, a 
Mr. Lamb had settled with his family. He had a 
daughter fourteen years old, who was left in his rude 
house alone while he attended to his agricultural pur- 
suits. Mr. Lamb heard a noise in the house, and 
going there he saw a young Indian kissing his daugh- 
ter and taking other improper liberties with her. He 
was so enraged that he picked up a junk bottle be- 
longing to the Indian and struck the savage on the 
head, killing him on the spot. He then fled to the 
settlement at Salina for safety. 

The Indians in the vicinity declared they must 
have the life of Mr. Lamb, according to their custom 
of "life for life." The people called the chiefs together 
and with Webster as interpreter, related the circum- 
stances as they transpired. Upon receiving this in- 
formation, a council of the tribe was called at Salina. 


(It was the last council ever held there.) When the 
council had assembled, Kiactdote stepped into the ring 
formed by the Indians, threw off his blanket, gave 
three whoops, making a motion with both hands at 
the same time. The meaning of this performance 
was : ' ' Pay attention to what I say. " He then related 
the whole circumstances to the nation, and said that 
it was the first time an Indian had ever been known to 
insult a white squaw. 'Although they had many, many 
prisoners of white blood, no Indian had ever been 
found so low as to degrade himself and tribe by insult- 
ing a white squaw until this occurrence. He declared 
that killing was justifiable, and that Mr. Lamb must 
not be punished. His decision was acquiesced in and 
adopted by the tribe, with the proviso that Mr. Lamb 
should pay to the relatives of the Indian killed a three 
year old heifer, which was to cement peace and good 
will between the posterity of both parties forever. The 
Indian was buried on the spot where he was killed. 

At that time the whites used to require the children 
to drive their cows one mile from the settlement and 
watch over them during the day, for fear of being 
surprised by the enemy from Canada. 

In 1793, the ill will between the inhabitants of New 
York and Canada had risen to such a point that it was 
deemed necessary for the security and protection of 
the inhabitants in and around Salina, to erect a Block 
House. The State caused an immediate survey to be 


made, and the location for the Block Honse deter- 
mined upon. A spot of ground directly in front of 
the Salina Pump House, near where the canal now 
runs, was selected as the proposed site. The building 
was finished before 1795. It was twenty feet in height, 
with port holes arranged in each story to fire from, in 
case of necessity. The B]ock House was used as a 
defence against the occasional incursions of guerrilla 
parties from Canada, which the inhabitants feared 
more than the Indians. 

Among the persons present when the Block House 
site was selected were Baron Steuben, Moses DeWitt 
of Pompey, Isaac Van Vleck, William Gilchrist, Gen- 
eral Asa Danforth, Mr. Olcott of Pompey, and Aaron 

Baron Steuben and Moses DeWitt took supper and 
lodged at Mrs. O'Blennis' father's house. The Baron 
was a large, corpulent man, pleasing in his address 
and manners. 

The Rev. Mr. Sickles, an itinerant minister, used 
to stop at Mr. Van Vleck's on his way through the 
country to and from the frontier. 

Mr. VanVleck's house was a common stopping place 
for most all travelers through the country. He did 
not keep a tavern, but he afforded rest to the weary 
and food to the hungry. 

At that time the inhabitants of Salina did not have 
any wells. The water they used for drinking and 

190 cheney's reminiscences 

cooking was brought from a fresh water spring under 
the hill near what was then the marsh. 

The lake at that time was five or six feet higher 
than at the present day, and covered the flats at cer- 
tain seasons of the year. 

In 179-2, Mr. Gould built what was called a mud 
house. It was similar to a stick chimney, narrow 
strips of boards being laid flat-ways about half an 
inch apart, and the open spaces filled with mud. The 
roof was made with split logs running lengthwise from 
the peak to the eaves. 

The first frame house was built by General Dan- 
forth and Mr. Van Vleck in 1793. The lumber, or 
most of it, was brought from Little Falls and Tioga 
Point in batteaux. The nails came from Albany. 

That year Thomas Orman, Simon Phares and Wil- 
liam Gilchrist came to Salina. Mr. Orman brought 
the first cauldron kettle for the manufacture of salt. 
Aaron Bellows came that year and established a cooper 
shop for the manufacture of salt barrels. Mr. Van 
Vleck went to Albany that year and brought a large 
copper mill and placed it in Mr. Bellows' cooper shop, 
which all the families used to grind their corn with. 
This was an improvement upon the scalloped stump 
and sweep. 

There were no grist or saw mills in this section of 
the country at that time. There was a small saw mill 
at Jamesville, but it was not accessible from Salina 


as there were no roads for the passage of teams. Ben- 
jamin Carpenter kept the first store at Salina. He 
kept a large variety store and traded in furs, salt, etc., 
with the Indians and settlers. He commenced busi- 
ness in 1795. 

In 1794, Patrick Riley, Mr. Thompson and several 
others came to Salina to live. The village at that 
time had increased to thirty-three persons, and of this 
number thirty were sick; only three being able to 
attend to their sick neighbors, which they did with 
the assistance of the Indians. 

In 1794, Elisha Alvord, then a young man, in com- 
pany with several others came to Salma to reside. 
Mr. Alvord was elected the Supervisor of the town of 
Salina at its first town election. He was the father 
of Thomas and Cornelius Alvord, now residents of 

In 1794, Judge Richard Sanger, Mr. Andrews of 
New Hartford, Thomas Hart of Clinton, Oneida 
county, Mr. Butler of Pompey, Mr. Keeler of Onon- 
daga, Asa Danforth of Onondaga Hollow and Elisha 
Alvord of Salina, formed a company called the " Fed- 
eral Company," for the purpose of manufacturing 
salt. They put up some of the first six kettle blocks. 
The company failed in 1801 by inexperience in the 
business. They had wood merely by cutting it, and 
sold salt readily at high prices. 

Dioclesian Alvord came here in 179(3, and hired 


part of the " Federal Works " with four kettles. He 
added two more, and with his six kettles he could 
manufacture eighteen to twenty bushels of salt per 
day, which he readily sold for fifty cents per bushel. 
The pump house was then out in the water, and Mr. 
Alvord had to take a skiff to reach it. The water was 
pumped by hand and conveyed in troughs to the res- 
ervoir made of hollow logs. 

The first law suit tried in Salina was the suit of 
Dr. Barber against John Lamb. The suit was in re- 
gard to alleged overcharges on the part of the Doctor, 
and was tried before 'Squire Kinne of Manlius, who 
came there to accommodate the parties. Dr. Barber 
was one of the first physicians in the village of Salina, 
and son-in-law of John Danforth of that place. 

In 1792, there were about six log and two mud 
houses in Salina. Three of these houses stood on 
Salina street, and two or three stood on the spot where 
Widow Miller now lives. These were built together, 
or adjoining each other, with separate entrances. 

Village lots were not in market in IT!) 2, and when 
a person wanted to build he took such a location as 
suited him, and put up his house. When the lots 
came into market the person building got a pre-emp- 
tion title for forty dollars. 

In 1795, Judge Stevens, the first Salt Superintend- 
ent, William Gilchrist and Isaac Van Vleck of Salina, 
conceived the idea of levying duties on salt. It was 


thought that the " duties" were not so much for the 
profit of the State as for the advancement of the per- 
sonal interests of different parties in Salina. The 
idea originated by these men has been a source of 
very great profit to the State, the State having re- 
ceived, prior to 1843, in duties upon salt, over 
$3,000,000. The first duties on salt were four pence 
per bushel. Upon the opening of the canal, the duty 
was raised to one shilling per bushel. The duty is 
now one cent. 

In 1801, Judge Stevens had collected a considerable 
amount of moneys for duties, and was on the point of 
proceeding to Albany to make a deposit, when he was 
prevented by sickness and died. 

In 1795, the State purchased of the Onondagas the 
salt lake now called Onondaga lake, with a strip of 
land one mile in width extending entirely round it, 
with the exclusive right to all the salt springs for $500, 
and the annual payment of one hundred bushels of 
salt. The State has from time to time sold to differ- 
ent individuals all of the land thus purchased, with 
the exception of 549 acres, for which, prior to 1843, 
they had received in the aggregate $58,428.25. 

The early inhabitants of Salina were a tough, 
hardy race of men, and withal they were intelligent, 
energetic and enterprising. They were governed solely 
by the common law until 1809, when the first town 
election was held in the town of Salina. 


The village increased gradually, and the salt ket- 
tles kept pace with the increase of the inhabitants, 
until now "Salt Point" and "Salt Pointers" and 
"salt kettles " are known all over the habitable globe. 

In 1824, the village of Saliua was about one-third 
as large as at the present day, and its inhabitants 
were known as a most intelligent, enterprising set of 
men. It grew rapidly during that year. 

The first tax levied upon the inhabitants after the 
incorporation of the village of Syracuse, was in the 
fall of 1825. It amounted to $250, a striking contrast 
to the sum now levied upon the city of Syracuse for 
municipal purposes. Henry W. Durnford was the 
collector, and John Durnford was his bondsman. 

In the year 1802, Judge Oliver R. Strong came 
from Berkshire, Mass., to the county of Onondaga, 
and located at Onondaga Hill. He was among the 
first of the settlers who acted in an official capacity, 
having been appointed a Deputy Sheriff in 1803, by 
Elijah Rust. This office he held for several years. 
In 1808, he was appointed County Treasurer by the 
Board of Supervisors, and served in that capacity for 
the extraordinary term of twenty-two years. He has 
been one of the Judges of the county, and President of 
the Onondaga County Bank for a long period. In all 
the relations of life, he has borne a reputation for 
integrity second to no man in the community. 

In 1803, Judge Strong, in connection with Cornelius 


Longstreet, acted as clerk of the election. At that 
time the elections continued for three days, and the 
polls were held half a day in a place. The town of 
Onondaga at that time embraced a large extent of 
territory, and it was no light duty to act in the 
capacity of an inspector or clerk of the elections. The 
responsibility, too, was much greater than at the 
present time, as the ballot boxes had to be strictly 
guarded over nights. 

In 1802, the village of Onondaga Hill consisted of 
four framed buildings — two of them erected that 
year — seven or eight log dwellings or huts and two 
log taverns. One of- these taverns was kept by 
Daniel Earll, the grandfather of Jonas Earll, former 
Canal Commissioner. His house stood on the site of 
the office subsequently occupied by Nehemiah H. 
Earll, and which still remains on the original lot. 
The other public house stood about where the store of 
Mr. Eastman now stands, and was kept by William 
Lard. Mr. Lard was a man of energy and enterprise, 
and many of his descendants still reside in the county. 
One of the log huts was used as a blacksmith's shop. 
A store was kept by Walter Morgan, but did not 
have much business. 

Medad Curtis was the only lawyer in the place. 
He was a man of ability, and was intelligent and 
trustworthy; and he enjoyed the unbounded confi- 
dence of his neighbors. His practice was lucrative. 

196 Cheney's reminiscences 

Two physicians, Dr. Thayer and Dr. Colton, were 
in practice in 1802. They did a large and profitable 
business, as the inhabitants, like those of all newly - 
settled countries, were subject to diseases of a bilious 
character. Few persons were proof against these in- 
sidious diseases. 

At the time referred to, this county was settling 
with great rapidity. Many of the settlers were Rev- 
olutionary soldiers, who received their land for ser- 
vices rendered their country in the stirring and event- 
ful contest with Great Britain, and came here to enjoy 
the blessings of peace and independence which had 
been acquired by their courage and patriotism. 

In 1794, Onondaga county was set off from Her- 
kimer by act of the Legislature. It included the whole 
of Oswego and parts of Cayuga and Cortland counties. 
The territory was divided into eight townships. Soon 
afterwards a company of gentlemen, consisting of 
Judge Stevens, Elisha Lewis, Comfort Tyler, John 
Ellis, Parley Howlett, sr., Asa Danforth, Thaddeus 
M. Wood, Elijah Rust, William Lard, Medad Curtis, 
and George Hall, conceived the idea of making a large 
village at or near the centre of the county. After a 
full view of the merits of the different localities, they 
selected Onondaga Hill, by reason of its high and 
airy location. The valleys were avoided, because they 
were regarded as very unhealthy. This company 
purchased parts of farm lots 104 and 111), and em- 


ployed Judge Geddes to lay them out into village 
lots, with a suitable site in the centre for a court house 
and jail. The plan was faithfully carried out, and 
these buildings, erected soon afterwards, were placed 
on the spot thus indicated. The site was very 
capacious, consisting of fifteen acres, with a gentle 
declivity towards the north, bounded on every side by 
public streets. 

A few years only elapsed before it became appar- 
ent that this attempt at a speculation must fail. The 
" Hollow" improved faster than the " Hill," and tne 
Erie canal eventually killed both. But it is not the 
only instance illustrating the want of foresight in the 
shrewdest men. Comfort Tyler, Thaddeus M. Wood, 
General Danforth and their associates in this enter- 
prise, were men far more sagacious than the 
generality of our pioneer citizens ; but they were not 
aware of the fact that the marts of commerce, trade 
and wealth, are always found in valleys and not on 
mountain elevations. 

The people of Onondaga Valley have been their 
own worst enemies. They not only made no efforts to 
secure the location of the court house, but actually 
prevented the laying out of the Erie canal through 
their village, by placing obstacles in the way of Judge 
Forman, who was sincerely desirous of running that 
great artery of trade and prosperity through the 
place. Had the leading property holders exhibited 

198 chexey's reminiscences 

the spirit of true liberality, the canal would have 
"been carried up to that point from Lodi, and down on 
the west side of the valley. Thus does selfishness 
generally defeat its own aims and purposes. Had the 
canal taken this direction, Onondaga Valley would 
have occupied the position now maintained by the 
city of Syracuse. 

The first court held in this county was in the corn 
house of Comfort Tyler, nearly opposite the late 
residence of General T. M. Wood (now the residence 
of Morris Pratt), at Onondaga Valley. After this 
they were held for some time in the parlor of Mr. 
Tyler's public house, and subsequently in other 
public places in different parts of the town, to suit 
the convenience of the litigants. 

At that time there was no jail in the county, and 
the authorities were compelled to take the prisoners 
to the Herkimer county jail for confinement. 

In the year 1804, the county of Oneida had com- 
pleted a jail in the town of Whitesboro, to which the 
criminals of this county were transferred, the Legis- 
lature having previously passed an act granting this 
county the right to use the nearest jail. The Whites- 
boro jail was used until 1810; that year our jail was 

In 1801, the Board of Supervisors, then composed 
of the wisest men in their respective towns, began to 
take measures to build a court house and jail for this 


county. Three commissioners, Elisha Lewis, Medad 
Curtis and T. M. Wood, were selected to superintend 
this erection, and by a vote, it was determined to 
locate them on Onondaga Hill. The commissioners 
did not seem to have much system about building. 
The buildings were erected by piecemeal and by 
different persons. The commissioners commenced by 
contracting with William Bostwick of Auburn to 
put up the frame and enclose the house. This was 
done in 1802, and closed Mr. Bostwick's contract. 
Previous to raising the house, the people of the Hill 
collected together and made a "bee," for the purpose 
of cutting away the trees to make room for the new 
building. The square was at that time covered with 
a heavy growth of timber. In order to have the use 
of the court house, a temporary floor and seats were 
put into it, and the courts held there till the com- 
mencement of 1804. The county then began to feel 
able to finish the court house and jailor's dwelling. 
The commissioners contracted with Abel House to do 
the carpenter work inside, leaving out the cells ; and 
with a Mr. Saxton from New Hartford to do the 
mason work; and E. Webster to furnish the brick 
for chimneys. The court room and dwelling were 
completed during that season. After a year or two, 
preparations were commenced for building the cells 
of the jail. A contract was made with Roswell and 
Sylvanus Tousley of Manlius to do the iron work for 

200 cheney's reminiscences 

a stipulated price of two shillings per pound. I am 
not informed who did the wood work, but the cells 
were not finished till the year 1810. 

This jail was a wood building, fifty feet square, 
two stories high, with a square roof pitching four 
ways to the eaves. It was not painted. This finish- 
ing touch was done by a subscription some years 
afterwards, by the people of Onondaga Hill. The 
first story was appropriated for the jail and the 
dwelling of the janitor, a hall separating them from 
each other. The cells were constructed of heavy oak 
plank, fastened together with wrought spike. The 
doors were made of the like material, with a "dia- 
mond " in the centre to pass through the food and 
give light to the prisoners. In the rear of the cells 
were grated windows. The court room was reached 
by a stairway leading from this hall. The Judge's 
bench was directly in front of the entrance to the 
court room, and was constructed in a circular form. 
The whole cost of the building was $10,000, a large 
sum apparently for such a structure ; but when it is 
considered that the work was done mostly on credit, 
there will be no occasion for surprise. Besides, the 
system of keeping public accounts at that day was 
very imperfect. Many of the bills contracted in the 
erection of the building were not paid until several 
years afterwards. 

This court house and jail were used for the pur- 


poses designated until the year 1829. The first jailor 
was James Beebe, a Revolutionary soldier, and father 
of Mrs. Victory Birdseye of Pompey. His successor 
was Mason Butts, father of Horace Butts, who was 
jailor after the removal of the county buildings to 
Syracuse. John H. Johnson also acted as jailor there 
for several years. 

Syracuse having in 1825-26 grown to be the 
largest town in the county, the propriety of removing 
the county buildings to that place began to be 
agitated. The people on the Hill strongly resisted 
the measure, and in the first mentioned year succeeded 
in getting a bill through the Legislature, providing 
for their retention at that place; but through the 
influence of the Syracuse Company, Governor 
Clinton was induced to veto it, and it was thus 
defeated. But the project did not sleep. In 1827-28, 
a law was enacted authorizing the Supervisors of the 
county to erect a court house and jail within the 
corporate limits of the village of Syracuse. In 
obedience to the recpairements of this act, the Super- 
visors, in the summer of 1828, met in the village of 
Syracuse, at the public house kept by James Mann 
(now the Syrarcuse House) to take into consideration 
the selection of a site for the proposed buildings, and 
also to make the necessary preparation for erecting 
the same. At that meeting there was a great deal of 
discussion upon the cp^iestion, and a wide difference of 


opinion existed aniong the members relative to the 
site of the buildings. On taking a vote, it resulted in 
placing it midway between Syracuse and Salina, in 
consideration of the village of Salina presenting to 
the county a full and unincumbered title to the 
property, consisting of not less than three acres, 
and $1,000. 

As an inducement to locate it in the centre of the 
village, Messrs. Townsend and James offered the 
county, free of expense, all that block of land on which 
the Onondaga County Bank and Bank of Syracuse are 
now located, with the exception of one lot on which 
the First Presbyterian church then stood, on the cor- 
ner of Salina and Fayette streets. This offer was re- 
fused ; but as the sequel proved, it would have been 
much the best bargain, for this property is now worth 
at least ten times as much as the court-house lot was 
recently sold for, besides being a much more conven- 
ient site for the county buildings. But the site hav- 
ing been fixed it could not be changed. 

At this meeting, measures were also taken for the 
erection of the county buildings by the appointment 
of three men, styled building commissioners, consist- 
ing of John Smith, Thomas Starr and Samuel For- 
man, with power to cause plans and specifications to 
be made, and to contract for the erection of the build- 
ings. The County Treasurer was also empowered to 
borrow $20,000 in two annual installments of $10,000 


each. After the plans were submitted, the conimis- 
sioners decided to build the jail of stone, fifty feet 
square and two stories high, with a hall and stairs in 
the centre. The south half was designed for the jail- 
or's dwelling, and the north half for strong stone cells, 
and the second story, over the cells, was appropriated 
for cells for debtors, witnesses, etc. The court house 
was to be built of brick, sixty feet square, with large 
columns on the west side, and two stories high. The 
first story was divided by a hall into four apartments 
in each corner, for the use of the grand and petit jurors 
and other purposes. The court room occupied all of 
the second story except the landing of the stairs and 
two petit jury rooms in each corner. The Judge's 
seat was in the south side, opposite the landing of the 
stairway. These were the county buildings the com- 
missioners decided upon, and invited bids for their 
erection. In the spring of 1829, the bids were received 
according to the specifications and plans. John Wall 
obtained the contract for the building of the jail, 
which was erected by him early in the year 1829. The 
cells in this jail were of the strongest kind. Since it 
was taken down, they have been placed in the base- 
ment of the new court house on Clinton square. 

L. A. Cheney and Samuel Booth obtained the con- 
tract for doing the mason work of the court house, 
and David Staff ord obtained the contract for doing the 
carpenter work. It was put up that year and enclosed. 

204 chexey's reminiscences 

In the following year, Mr. Wall made a bargain with 
the commissioners to complete the edifice, and during 
that year it was finished ready for the occupation of 
the courts. 

The estimate for these buildings proved to be some 
thirty per centum short of their expense, the total cost 
of them having been upwards of $27,000. 

The jail was abandoned in 1850, after the erection 
of the penitentiary and the removal of the jail pris- 
oners to that institution. The materials were used in 
the erection of the work-shops at the penitentiary and 
the new court house. 

Attempts were made from time to time to change 
the site of this court house, but they all failed until 
after the destruction of the building by fire, on the 
morning of the oth of January, 185G. At a meeting 
of the Board of Supervisors, April 28, 1856, it was 
decided by a vote of twenty-four to one, "that the 
site of the court house for Onondaga county be, and 
is hereby, changed to the lot in Block 81, on the cor- 
ner of Clinton square and Clinton alley." 

The plan of the building, as presented in the report 
of the committee, consisting of T. C. Cheney, Elizur 
Clark and Bradley Cary, was then adopted; and 
Messrs. Slocum, Johnson and District Attorney An- 
drews were directed to execute the papers for an ex- 
change of sites with Colonel Voorhees. The next day 
Timothy C. Cheney, Luke Wells and D. C. Greenfield 


were appointed a committee to superintend the erec- 
tion of the building, and Horatio N. White, architect. 
At a subsequent meeting of the Board in June, the 
proposals for the erection of the building, advertised 
for by the commissioners, were opened and the con- 
tract awarded to Messrs. Cheney & Wilcox, at $37,750, 
the contractors to have the materials of the old court 
house and jail. Mr. Cheney thereupon resigned his 
place as commissioner, and Elizur Clark was appointed 
to fill the vacancy. Portions of the work were after- 
wards sub-let — the cut stone work to Spalding & 
Pollock, the carpenter and joiner work to Coburn & 
Hurst, and the iron work to Featherly, Draper & Cole. 
The building is now in process of construction, and 
will be completed on the first day of October, next. 

In the year 1821, Judge Forman, who then resided 
in Syracuse, conceived the idea of manufacturing salt 
by solar evaporation. Mr. Forman, with Isaiah Town- 
send of Albany, went to New Bedford for the purpose 
of examining works that had been previously erected 
there. He met in that noted sea-faring town Stephen 
Smith, with whom he counseled upon the subject. 
Upon Mr. Forman's statements in regard to the 
strength of the water, its purity and abundance, Mr. 
Smith consented to embark in the enterprise of erect- 
ing similar works here. This gentleman, together 
with William Rotch, jr., Samuel Rodman and James 
Arnold of New Bedford, formed the " Onondaga Salt 


Company." Of this company, Mr. Smith was the con- 
trolling agent, and Henry Gifford superintended the 

Subsequently to the formation of this company. 
Judge Forman proceeded to Albany and procured the 
passage of a law by the Legislature, authorizing the 
company to take possession of the grounds and erect 
the necessary works. He also endeavored to induce 
William James and Isaiah and John Townsend to 
form another company and embark in the manufac- 
ture of coarse salt ; but they declined. He then ap- 
plied to Henry Eckford, the celebrated naval architect 
of New York, who consented, and with other gentle- 
men, established "The Syracuse Salt Company." 
Judge Forman was appointed the agent of this com- 
pany and Matthew L. Davis, secretary. 

Mr. Eckford was then owner of the "Walton Tract." 
Before the works of this company had far advanced 
William James and Isaiah and John Townsend of 
Albany and James McBride of New York became the 

At that period, the Salt Springs were termed the 
" Old Federal Springs." The water was pumped by 
hand labor by men perched on high stagings, and col- 
lected into rude reservoirs for distribution. 

The companies thus formed immediately set about 
the execution of their plans. The first thing done 
was to cut away the trees, clear the grounds (the 


position between the " Genesee turnpike " and the Erie 
canal was an almost impassable swamp), preparatory 
to the erection of the vats. It was essential that a 
greater supply of water should be procured. Accord- 
ingly the two companies, at their joint expense, erected 
the first great reservoir, pumps and aqueducts at 
Salina ; the machinery propelled, as it now is, by sur- 
plus water from a branch of the Erie canal. The 
starting point for the vats was just north of Church 

After these works were fairly under way, the 
Onondaga Salt Company broke ground west of the 
creek, near the dwelling subsequently occupied for 
many years by Joseph Savage. Here the first growth 
of trees was still standing, and yielded nearly a hun- 
dred cords of wood to the acre. The building of vats 
was prosecuted with great diligence and energy ; about 
two million feet of lumber being consumed annually 
for several years. 

In 1826, Mr. Gifford covered twenty acres of ground 
on private account; but he was unable to procure 
water for three years. This investment was continued 
by Mr. Gifford until the land was sold by the State, 
a year or two since. 

Such, in brief, was the origin of the coarse salt 
manufacture. There are now in existence upwards 
of 23,000 vats, or " covers," occupying about 380 acres, 
in which is invested a capital of $1,161,000. 

208 cheney's reminiscences 

It may not be out of place here to make a brief 
allusion to Stephen Smith. Mr. Smith in early life 
was particularly noted for his persevering industry 
in the pursuit of knowledge. He was a son of Abra- 
ham Smith of New Bedford, with whom he learned 
the trade of a blacksmith, but did not follow the oc- 
cupation. At the age of twenty-one, he went to New 
York, found employment in a celebrated commercial 
firm there and became a partner in a ship-chandlery 
establishment, which, during his absence in Europe, 
became unsuccessful. In 1801, he went to England 
and France on an agency. He made several voyages 
as supercargo to India and China. Subsequently he 
went on different occasions to Italy, Spain and 

The war of 1812 and ill health detained him at 
home, and he then embarked in the manufacture of 
salt from sea water at Yarmouth on Cape Cod. It 
was while prosecuting this enterprise that Judge For- 
man met him and induced him to come to Syracuse, 
as before stated. Mr. Smith continued to reside here 
until his death, which occurred in 1854. He was a man 
of strong mind, a close observer of passing events, lib- 
eral views and unbending integrity. No man stood 
higher in the community than Stephen Smith. The 
monument at his grave marks the last resting place 
of "God's noblest work, an honest man." 

The first furnace erected west of Oneida county 


was built by Nicholas Mickles, father of Philo D. 
Mickles, who emigrated from New England to lay the 
foundation of a fortune in this then frontier county. 
It is usually called the " Old Furnace," and has long 
been a landmark on the road to Onondaga Hill. Judge 
Forrnan was associated in this enterprise with Mr. 
Mickles, and they did a heavy business for many 
years in the manufacture of kettles for the western 
country and for the salt works. During the war of 
1812, they had a heavy contract with the government 
for supplies of cannon balls and shells. These mis- 
siles of death were transported by wagons to Salina, 
whence they were taken by water to Oswego and there 
distributed to various points along the frontier. Mr. 
Mickles was a man of intelligence and probity and 
highly esteemed. 

In every community there are men with character- 
istics so marked as to attract particular notice and 
comment. Syracuse has not been wanting in this 
respect. I propose to terminate these random 
" Reminiscences " by adverting to one of them, who 
was well known to many persons now residing in this 
vicinity. I allude to James Sackett. 

Mr. Sackett originally emigrated from New 
England and settled in Skaneateles; but he removed 
to Syracuse in 1826, long before which he acquired 
the sobriquet of "Old Sackett," by which he was 
ever afterwards known. He was very eccentric in 

210 chexey's reminiscences 

his habits and conversation. He acquired a large 
property by the purchase of land warrants of Revo- 
lutionary soldiers, and locating the lots in this 
section of the State. He was very fond of horses, of 
which he raised the finest breed in this county. He 
had a habit of rounding off his sentences with the 
very expressive but rather impolite phrase, "G — d 

d n you!" Always a bachelor, he never made 

more than one attempt to obtain a wife. The lady 
he selected, and who resided in an adjoining county, 
was first made acquainted with his intentions by 
hearing an individual hallooing at her father's gate. 
She went out to ascertain what was wanted. Mr. 
Sackett sat in his buggy. On her inquiring his 
errand, his response was : "I have made up my mind 
to marry you ; will you have me, G — d d n you ? " 

She replied: " Mr. Sackett, this is a short notice; I 
will take ten days to consider." 

"Ten days, ha! to consider on marrying Mr. 

James Sackett ; ten days, G — d d n you ! ten days, 

ha ! " and Mr. Sackett drove away, never calling 

In 1824, he contracted with a man to build him a 
house about 22 feet by 40. It was to be set on his 
block on Salina street, opposite the Empire. That 
block was owned by him, and nothing was on it except 
at the south end, where were two or three little 
buildings. It was a pretty field for a residence. The 


contractor did not come and put up the house as he 
agreed. He then contracted with another builder to 
put up the same kind of a house. It was immediately 
done. While the second contractor was finishing the 
first house, the first contractor came with the second 
house. Although Mr. Sackett was under no obliga- 
tion to receive the house, he said to the builder : 
" Here, put it up at the end of this one." Of course, 
he had a house 22 by 80 feet. He had a rough board 
fence put around the lot, which was entered by a 
gate swinging on a post in the centre. After his 
house was finished and he had resided in it a few 
years, the crickets had taken joint occupancy with 
him. They were rather noisy, and disturbed the old 
man. Mr. Sackett was a timid man ; so he undertook 
to expel them. He succeeded very well, with the 
exception of one old chap that bid him defiance. 
This fellow was located behind the chimney, where 
he kept up a perpetual song. But he was not out of 
the reach of harm. One Monday morning, masons 
were seen at work taking down the chimney, which 
was razed to the ground, and this noisy old chap 
driven from his quarters, and the chimney rebuilt so 
as to exclude him thereafter. 

Mr. Sackett had also siugular tastes in the matter 
of dress. He wore a frock coat reaching down to his 
heels, a wide brimmed hat, with a large veil over his 
face. Such an outfit on a tall, slim, fleshless man 


like Mr. Sackett made him an object of notice to 
every person. He always hired masons to fill his ice 
house, so that the work should be well done. In 
doing odd jobs, he would hire more men than were 
necessary, and would often discharge them all before 
the work on hand was completed. He usually 
traveled about the country in an old, rickety buggy, 
with a patched top of various colors, drawn by a 
splendid horse. Wherever he went on foot, he 
carried an old umbrella, with a large white patch on 
the top. But with all his oddities, he was a well 
disposed man, and correct and prompt in business 
matters. He died worth an estate valued at $150,000. 

FIRST PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH.— From a recent photograph. 



The original site of the First Presbyterian church 
was on the northeastern corner of Salina and Fayette 
streets, where the retail dry goods store of D. Mc- 
Carthy & Company now stands. The church edifice 
was a plain, wooden structure, clapboarded and 
painted white, with green outside blinds, two story, 
and surmounted with a spire of moderate height, as 
were all steeples of an early day. The inside 
was finished with pine, painted white throughout, 
the division of the pews being capped with cherry. 
The gallery front was of an elliptical form. The 
pulpit was situated in the west end of the building, 
and the choir was for a time placed in the gallery 
just above, but subsequently removed to the east 
end. This edifice was the only one in the block upon 
which it was situated, enclosed by Washington, 
Fayette, Warren and Salina streets, and so continued 
for many years. A portion of the remainder of the 
square was occasionally used for the purpose of the 



peripatetic shows of that day. This spot was called 
a common or goose pasture. 

This church building, though at first located 
somewhat out of the village, afterwards, with the 
growth of the village, became centrally located; and 
it was often used for important public meetings, as 
there were no public halls in which the people could 
be accommodated. Suspended in the belfry was the 
bell, which in those days sounded the alarm of fire, 
the call to church and the funeral knell. It was then 
the custom to strike upon the bell the number of 
years of the age of the deceased as soon as the spirit 
had departed, as was generally observed in all 
country villages. The Fourth of July gatherings 
were for many years held in this building. It was 
also customary to read from the pulpit notices of 
important meetings and transactions, and, among 
others, was read annually for many years from the 
pulpit of this church, the necrological record for the 
previous year. These death notices were usually 
read on the first Sunday in January. 

The certificate of the incorporation of this church 
society, as recorded in the County Clerk's office, was 
executed and recorded December 22, 1824, before 
David S. Colvin, a Commissioner, etc. This docu- 
ment says that at a meeting of the members of the 
Presbyterian Society in the village of Syracuse, in 
the town of Salina, December 14, 1824, held at the 


school house, Moses D. Burnet and Miles Seymour 
were chosen to preside; and that the society was 
named "First Presbyterian Society in the village of 
Syracuse." These seven Trustees were elected by 
"pluralities of voices" : Joshua Forrnan, Moses D. 
Burnet, Heman Walbridge, Miles Seymour, Rufus 
Moss, Joseph Slocum and Jonathan Day. 

Another record in the County Clerk's office shows 
that at an election ' ' holden " at the Presbyterian 
meeting house, January 10, 1827, the society was 
reincorporated, ' ' the incorporation being dissolved 
by means of a neglect to exercise the powers necessary 
for its preservation." The following were chosen 
Trustees: Jonathan Day, Moses D. Burnet, Joseph 
Slocum, George Hooker, Stephen W. Cadwell, Elbert 
Norton and John Wall. The acknowledgment to 
this certificate of reincorporation contains the follow- 
ing clause: "I certify that on the 26th day of 
January, 1827, came before me Frederick Phelps and 
Edward Chapman, to me known to be the within 
grantors, and acknowledged that they executed the 
within. David S. Colvin, a Commissioner, etc." 
It might be added that at the annual meeting of this 
church society, held January 1st, 1894, a resolution 
was passed, authorizing an application to the Court 
to change the name to The First Presbyterian Society 
of Syracuse. 

According to the first church manual, published 


by J. M. Patterson in 1835, the church, edifice was 
built in the summer of 1825, and dedicated in January 
of 1820. The Rev. Dirck C. Lansing, D. D., of 
Auburn Theological Seminary, who had formerly 
been the first pastor of the " United Church of Onon- 
daga Hollow and Salina," from 1810 to 1814, preached 
the dedication sermon. The church was organized 
April 6, 1826, by a committee from the Onondaga 
Presbytery, consisting of the following gentlemen: 
Ministers, Hezekiah N. Woodruff, Hutchins Taylor, 
Ralph Cushman, Washington Thatcher; Elders, Dr. 
Joseph W. Brewster, William Eager, Harry Mose- 
ley. Frederick Phelps and Edward Chapman were 
elected Elders, and Pliny Dickinson, Deacon, at that 
time. The society consisted, at its formation, of the 
following twenty-six members: Frederick Phelps, 
Edward Chapman, Pliny Dickinson, Rufus Moss, 
J. W. Hanchett, Jonathan Day, Archibald L. Fel- 
lows, Agrippa Martin, Benoni Stilson, Samuel Mead, 
Anna Phelps, Florilla Chapman, Melinda Kasson, 
Harriet Newton, Margaret Hanchett, Theodosia 
Wall, Deborah Webb, Olive Pease, Catharine Mar- 
ble, Nancy Toogood, Eliza Parsons, Eve Van Buren, 
Elizabeth Cummings, Julia Northani, Mary A. 
Huntington, Sarah Norton. 

When the church edifice was dedicated, in Janu- 
ary, 1820, Dr. Lansing brought with him the Rev. 
John Watson Adams, at that time engaged in theo- 


logical studies at Auburn Seminary. Mr. Adams 
was then thirty years of age. The society invited 
the young clergyman to preach a few sermons, with 
a view to settlement, at a salary of $600 per year. 
Mr. Adams accepted the invitation, and the result 
was that he was ordained and installed pastor of the 
church June 28, 1826. He was the first pastor of 
this church, and he sustained this relation uninter- 
ruptedly till his decease, April 4, 1850, in the fifty- 
fourth year of his age. 

Dr. Adams, for he had been honored with the 
degree of D. D., is remembered with the kindest 
feelings by his congregation and associates, as he was 
a man of scholarly attainments, warm friendships, 
in spite of the occasional coldness of his exterior, and 
a preacher whose views of divine truth were lucid, 
comprehensive and sound. The character of this 
remarkable man, combined with acumen and strength 
of intellect and the higher qualities of moral virtue, a 
peculiar native diffidence and self-distrust. In his 
labors among the people of this city, where the whole 
life of his manhood was spent, he was successful and 
highly useful, fully meeting, in this regard, the 
anticipations and predictions of his earliest friends. 

Dr. Adams commenced a history of Onondaga 
County, and he was for several years engaged upon 
the work, with a view of ultimate publication; 
but his parochial duties and other uncontrollable 


circumstances interposed, and the idea was abandoned. 
His material, however, was used and acknowledged 
by Joshua V. H. Clark in writing "Clark's Onon- 

In the early days, when the Calvinistic teachings 
prevailed more extensively than in these progressive 
days, the people were bound by strict religious 
observances. At a meeting of the First Presbyterian 
Church and Society, held March 31, 1835, certain 
rules and regulations were unanimously adopted and 
ordered to be printed as an appendix to the articles 
of faith of the church. The first rule was: "We 
regard the Sabbath as holy time, and all profanations 
of it, by walking or riding out for pleasure, journey- 
ing, or engaging in other secular employments, un- 
less when compelled so to do by the paramount claims 
of mercy, as a violation of our covenant engagements. 
Therefore, resolved unanimously, that the Session of 
this church be requested to make such violations a 
subject of discipline." 

There were some exceptions to this prevailing cus- 
tom, as is shown in the following entry from the Sun- 
day school minute book, under date of March 16, 1831 : 
" Last night was the great conflagration of our vil- 
lage. Blocks 03 and 94, and the one on the opposite 
side of the canal, being the great centre of business, 
were entirely consumed. All are engaged in saving 
their property, and there is no church or Sabbath 


A form of covenant was adopted, March 31, 1835. 
After the great powder explosion, a relief meeting was 
held in the church, August 23, 1841, at which $2,800 
was raised at once for the benefit of the victims. On 
January 5, 1816, steps were taken for the erection of 
a new church edifice; and on June 28, 1846, the build- 
ing was commenced on the opposite side of Fayette 
street, on the site now occupied by the present church 
edifice. The original church site was a gift from the 
Syracuse Company. Many thought at the time that 
it was too far away from the village, and much com- 
plaint was made of the mud encountered in going to 
the services. At that time, thirty-three feet on the 
north side of the canal, where most of the people had 
settled, could have been purchased for thirty dollars 
per foot ; but the trustees thought the price too high. 
The new and present site was purchased at a cost of 
$10,000, and the following building committee was 
appointed: Henry Gifford, Elias W. Leavenworth, 
Thomas B. Fitch, Zebulon Ostrum and Albert A. 
Hudson. The services of the celebrated architect, 
Lefever, were solicited, and plans were submitted by 
him of the noble edifice which has so long ornamented 
the centre of the city. The church was erected at a 
cost of about $40,000; and $10,000 has been since ex- 
pended upon it. The new edifice was completed and 
first services were held therein November 24, 1850. 
It was dedicated two days thereafter. 


The old church property was purchased by Heury 
A. Dillaye, who erected upon that site a handsome 
five-story block, at that time by far the finest build- 
ing in Salina street. The block covered the entire lot, 
and it was then thought to be too far from the centre 
of business to be profitable for leasing ; but the in- 
vestment proved to be a good one. The building was 
burned in 1855, and was rebuilt the following year. 
It was soon afterwards purchased by Dennis McCar- 
thy for a dry goods store. 

The old church edifice was torn down in April, 
1850, and just as the last timbers were removed the 
venerable and beloved Dr. Adams passed from earth. 
The church society removed to Market Hall, April 7, 
1850, while the new edifice was being built. 

The Rev. Charles McHarg, of Cooperstown, N. Y., 
received a call to become pastor of this church in 
June, 1850; he began his pastorate in September and 
was installed December 18. In October, 1851, Mr. 
McHarg resigned; his pastoral relations were dis- 
solved November 24, and his labors with the church 
were closed December 8. His resignation was reluct- 
antly accepted by the church, for his character, fine 
culture and commanding abilities had rendered him 
a favorite with the congregation and the community. 

From December, 1851, to May, 1851, the church 
was without a settled pastor. A call was extended 
February 27, 1854, to the Rev. Sherman Bond Can- 


field, which was accepted by hiiri. On May 1, 185-4, 
Mr. Canfield began his pastorate ; and September 26 
he was installed. His resignation, made in October, 
1870, ill health impelling to this action, was accepted 
October 22. His death, March 5, 1871, occurred in 
St. Louis, Mo., and his funeral services were held in 
the church of which he had been pastor for over six- 
teen years. Dr. Canfield was highly educated, a man 
of great logical power, sturdy in his opinions, inclined 
to be conservative, and at times very eloquent; he 
was of reserved and somewhat cold exterior, but in 
private circles genial and warm-hearted, especially to 
young men. 

In May, 1861, the meeting of the General Assem- 
bly of the New School Presbyterian Church of the 
United States was held in this church, the Rev. Dr. 
J. B. Condit being moderator. On January 26, 1870, 
a petition was made by some of the members to leave 
the church and organize the Fourth Presbyterian 
Church. This organization was perfected that same 
year, about sixty members joining the new society, 
among them being E. T. Hayden, who had served 
continuously since July, 1833, as Deacon or Elder. 
From October, 1870, to November, 1872, the pulpit 
was supplied by the Rev. Dr. J. B. Condit and the 
Rev. Dr. E. A. Huntington, both of Auburn Theolog- 
ical Seminary, and others. 

The Rev. Dr. Nelson Millard, of Peekskill, N. Y., 


was called to this pastorate May 17, 1872; and lie was 
installed November 19, following. During that sum- 
mer the church had been thoroughly repaired, and 
the main auditorium and Sabbath school room elab- 
orately frescoed. Dr. Millard was an eloquent, forci- 
ble, fearless preacher, and he was greatly respected by 
his congregation. In December, 1883, he received a 
call from Norwich, Conn. He is now pastor of a 
leading church in Rochester. Three meetings of the 
church society were held expressive of the desire of 
the church to retain the pastor; but the call to Nor- 
wich was accepted by Dr. Millard January 13, 1881, 
on which date the pastor officiated for the last time. 
From that time to September, 1885, the pulpit was 
supplied mainly by the Rev. Dr. Wellesly P. Cod- 
dington of the Syracuse University. During July 
and September of 1881, extensive repairs were made 
to the edifice and the organ. A call to the pastorate 
was extended to the Rev. Dr. George B. Spalding, 
of Manchester, N. H., June 29, 1885, which was ac- 
cepted, September 1, following; and the new pastor 
was installed, October 1, 1885. Dr. Spalding continues 
as pastor of this church, and he is a worthy successor 
of the eminent divines who preceded him. 



THE STATE ARSENAL.— From a recent photograph. 



The old State arsenal, located in Onondaga Hollow 
(now called Onondaga Valley), is one of the most im- 
portant historic landmarks of this county ; and it is 
fast mouldering into decay, through neglect and 
abandonment. It was erected on the hill, half a mile 
east of Onondaga Valley, at the side of the old Seneca 
turnpike road, leading from Onondaga to Manlius. 
It is a stone structure, originally of imposing appear- 
ance, two stories and a half high, upon whose roof there 
rested, some fifty years ago, two huge wooden cannon 
which indicated the purpose to which the building- 
had been dedicated. But one of the cannon fell to 
decay, and it was followed by the other emblem of 
war. The roof and parts of the walls have also suf- 
fered from neglect and the lapse of many years. 

The property whereon this building stands was 
deeded to the State of New York by Cornelius Long- 
street, father of Cornelius T. Longstreet, in 1809. 
The building was erected in 1810, and it was occupied 



in Elmwood Park. During the war of 1812, Mr. 
Mickles was employed by the Government to cast shot 
and shell for the army and navy. Elisha and Diocle- 
sian Alvord were the consignees of this shot and shell, 
and they shipped the ammunition to Oswego and 
Sacket's Harbor, where the Government forts were 

An account of this old arsenal would not be 
complete without some reference to the celebrated 
order of sending an armed vessel from Oswego to 
Onondaga Hollow. As the accounts of different 
authorities differ, it is safe to say that the most 
reliable account is that given by Joshua V. H. Clark 
in his history entitled "Clark's Onondaga." This 
history was published in 1849, and it is the basis of 
all the other histories ot this county, so abundantly 
rich in the history of the Indians, the pioneers and 
the early settlers. 

Mr. Clark says: "It was with regard to the 
Government property at this place, that Secretary of 
War Armstrong committed a most laughable mistake, 
which was noticed at the time in most of the public 
prints in the Union. A large amount of shot and 
shell was lying at the Onondaga Furnace which was 
wanted by the fleet on Lake Ontario. Secretary 
Armstrong directed one of the Naval Commanders 
then at Oswego, to proceed forthwith with one armed 
ves>el via the Oswego river, to Onondaga Hollow, 


and remove the Government property from that 
place to Oswego. The obstructions at Oswego Falls 
were found to be quite too formidable to allow of the 
execution of the Secretary's order, and the project 
was abandoned. The joke was too good to be kept a 
secret, and its publication created much merriment at 
the Honorable Secretary's expense." 

An effort has been repeatedly made by the Onon- 
daga Historical Association to have what remains of 
this old building preserved and put in proper condi- 
tion, as the sole relic of early war history in this 
locality. But nothing has so far been done in the 
matter, though steps are now being taken which will 
doubtless be successful. 

A few years ago, William Kirkpatrick and Major 
Theodore L. Poole, in behalf of the Onondaga Histor- 
ical Association, started a project to erect a 
monument to the memory of Captain Benjamin 
Branch, who was buried, in 1814, on the south side of 
the old Seneca turnpike road, at the top of the hill 
above Hopper's Glen. But the monument has never 
been erected. A letter from the Adjutant-General's 
office in Washington, dated July 9, 1889, and written 
to Major Poole, gives this account of Captain Branch : 
"The records of the office show that Captain Benja- 
min Branch, United States Light Artillery, died 
October 14, 1814, at Onondaga Hollow, N. Y. Cap- 
tain Arthur W. Thornton, United States Light 


Artillery, was at that time absent from the company, 
sick, at the same place; but he died in 1836, in 
Florida. There is no record of the death of any 
other man of the United States Light Artillery in 
October, 1814, when a detachment of the company 
passed through Onondaga. From the data furnished 
it cannot be determined who the other deceased 
soldier, herein referred to, is." 

The burial plot for this soldier was purchased by 
Captain Arthur W. Thornton from Amasa Cole, the 
same day that Captain Branch died. It is a beautiful 
. site, overlooking the whole valley. The company of 
Light Artillery was encamped on the green at Onon- 
daga Hill. Captain Branch came from an old 
Virginian family, some members of which are still 
living in Virginia. 

THE ONONDAGA ACADEMY. From a recent photograph. 



The Onondaga Academy, occupying a beautiful 
and picturesque location in Onondaga Valley, has a 
history which is clearly identified with the earliest 
history of Syracuse; and this academy has always 
been ranked among the best in the State, graduating 
a long list of young men and women who afterwards 
attained distinction and honor. It was intended to 
be a rival of Hamilton College, and it was founded 
by the same man who obtained the charter for 
Hamilton College. But through continual lack of 
funds, a disadvantage which it encountered from its 
very beginning, it never rose above the rank of an 
academy. Its first Principal and the President of 
its first Board of Trustees, was the Rev. Caleb Alex- 
ander, a Presbyterian Clergyman, who was an able, 
cultivated, ambitious man, but one who failed to 
retain the full confidence of his associates. 

In 1801, when Mr. Alexander was forty-six years 
old, he was appointed as a missionary for Western 



New York, under the auspices of the Massachusetts 
Missionary Society. It was his duty to visit the 
churches and the Indians and to labor among them. 
But he continued in the work for a short time only, 
for in 1803 he organized the Fairfield Academy, at 
Fairfield, Herkimer county, of which he became 
Principal, a school that prospered and one that is 
to-day of considerable influence. When that academy 
was seven or eight years old, the people of Fairfield 
wished to broaden its basis, in order that it might be 
made a college. 

Mr. Alexander went to Albany, in order to pro- 
cure a charter for such an institution, but instead of 
carrying it to Fairfield, he took it to Clinton, a 
more promising town near Utica, and where the rival 
Oneida Academy, munificently endowed by Dr. 
Kirkland, was located. The Clinton people were 
glad to get the charter; and thus Hamilton College 
came into being. It was stipulated that Mr. Alexan- 
der should be the first President of Hamilton College, 
in return for obtaining the charter, but he failed in 
his purpose. He was paid $5,000 as compensation for 
his services to the Clinton people, though the Fair- 
field people said it was the price of his treachery. 
That was in 1812. The same year he went to 
Onondaga Hollow, then a town of considerable im- 
portance in the State, and began his plans to found 
an institution that would outrank those with which 
he had been recently connected. 


From Jasper Hopper's minutes of a preliminary 
meeting, held in Onondaga Hollow, now known as 
Onondaga Valley, August 15, 1812, it is learned that 
upon application made by the Rev. Caleb Alexander, 
subscription papers were prepared for establishing an 
academy for the instruction of youth, to be located 
not more than one hundred rods from the Seneca turn- 
pike road. The subscriptions were in shares of $25 
each, and were payable to John Adams and Joshua 
Forman, in three yearly installments and not to be 
binding unless 6-4,000 was subscribed for the purpose. 

The sum of $2,000 was subscribed at that meeting, 
Joshua Forman heading the paper with $500. A sim- 
ilar paper pledged the subscriber to contribute to a 
fund for the endowment of the academy, the aggre- 
gate to be not less than $3,000. This contribution was 
to be in money, in land or in mortgages upon land, 
the interest to be paid annually. Shares in this fund 
were to be twenty dollars each. Joshua Forman 
headed the list with $750. At the close of the meeting 
the endowment fund had reached $3,425. 

The papers were circulated for some weeks subse- 
quently, and each fund was increased to something 
over $4,000, as appears in the application for the char- 
ter. As these subscription papers were not preserved, 
it is not known who were all of the contributors to the 
academy funds. The charter names twenty-two trus- 
tees as follows: Joshua Forman, John Adams, 


Thaddeus M.Wood, Nicholas Mickles, Joseph Forman, 
Joseph Swan, William H. Sabin, George Hall, Cor- 
nelius Longstreet, Caleb Alexander, Dirck C. Lansing, 
William J. Wilcox, Levi Parsons, Judson Webb, 
Jasper Hopper, Gordon Needham, James Geddes, 
Daniel Bradley, Benjamin Sanford, Jacob R. DeWitt, 
Oliver R. Strong, Jacobus DePuy. More than one- 
fourth of these original trustees were graduates of 
eastern colleges. 

A charter was applied for as soon as the funds 
were subscribed, but it was not granted until April 
20, 1813, after considerable correspondence between 
the subscribers, the Board of Regents and Governor 
Tompkins. The institution was endowed by the State 
with a gift of land from the Literary Fund of the 
Board of Regents. In the meantime the school had 
been opened by Mr. Alexander in September, 1812, in 
the Lancastrian school house which had been erected 
in Onondaga Valley in 1809. That building is still 

The courses of study arranged by Mr. Alexander 
give evidence that the Onondaga Academy was desig- 
nated for a high grade college. In addition to the 
Lancastrian department, as it was called in those days 
— which recp^ired the older and more capable pupils 
to act as monitors in taking charge of the younger 
ones, resulting in what is now known as the system 
of monitorial government — there were to be the reg- 


ular Freshman, Sophomore, Junior and Senior classes ; 
and the studies prescribed for each class were closely- 
modeled after the Yale College curriculum. 

One of the important features of the Lancastrian 
system of education was object teaching, as now used 
in kindergarten schools; and another feature was 
teaching the rudiments of handicraft, now known as 
manual training, and in some instances teachers were 
trained somewhat after the manner of the present 
normal school methods. The kindergarten features 
were dropped after two or three years, but the system 
of governing through the agency of monitors, com- 
monly called ' ' spies " by the pupils, was not entirely 
extinct as late as 1862. 

In October, 1813, orders were given for the erection 
of an academy building, seventy-four by thirty-four 
feet. Building operations were commenced that winter, 
the contractors being two brothers, Moses and Aaron 
Warner; but the house, which was made of stone, 
was not ready for use until the spring of 1815, and 
not entirely completed until the middle of 1816. 

A belfry was added at an additional cost of $30, 
and the tin on its roof shone like silver, being visible 
many miles distant. It became a favorite trysting place 
for the students, and many names and initials are 
carved upon its woodwork. The belfry was con- 
structed to receive a bell which had been bought in 
Albany and brought to Onondaga Valley on a freight 


wagon. The bell was presented to the Academy by 
Joshua Forman, and the same old bell is still in 

That belfry, which possesses many associations dear 
to the graduates of this historic academy, came near 
being fatal to the building, for one night it was found 
to be in flames. Two young men, mischief-loving 
fellows, boarded at the time with Lewis H. Redfield, 
learning the printer's trade and attending school. 
They saw the fire and heroically put it out. These 
young men were Willis Gaylord Clark, the renowned 
poet, and his brother, Lewis. 

The first meeting of the Board of Trustees, after 
the granting of the charter, was held in the old school 
house April 24, 1813. Mr. Alexander was chosen 
President. Joseph Swan was chosen Treasurer, and 
he was the only one of the original twenty-two trustees 
that remained in the Board continuously from that 
time till the dissolution of the Board in 1866, and dur- 
ing a large part of that time he held the office of 
Treasurer, Secretary or President. Jasper Hopper 
was the first Secretary. Thaddeus M. Wood, a re- 
markably bright, though pugnacious, attorney, was 
one of the most active of the Trustees, and his 
aggressive personality impressed itself upon the policy 
of the young academy. It might also be added that 
much of the legal difficulties which hindered -the 
progress of this academy in the early days, causing 


several of the principals to sue for their salaries, was 
doubtless clue to Mr. Wood's fondness for indulging 
in a law suit. 

A committee was appointed at that first meeting, 
consisting of Caleb Alexander, William H. Sabin and 
Thaddeus M. Wood, to prepare a code of by-laws for 
the government of the Board and of the school. The 
rules are similar to those adopted by almost all the 
early colleges in the country. They were A^ery rigid, 
and the strictest religious observances were com- 
manded from the students. But in spite of the mon- 
itorial system of self-government there was very little 
discipline, as the principal lived a mile away, man- 
aging his farm (the Lemuel Clark place). Students 
were detected in all sorts of offenses and brought to 
trial. The first case recorded is that of Robert C. 
Owen, whose offense was card playing. He was con- 
victed and expelled. Who his accomplices were in 
the game is not now known. It may be that Joseph 
Smith, the founder of Mormonism, played with him ; 
for Joseph was at that time living at the house of Wil- 
liam H. Sabin, as a sort of choring boy, and he was 
much given to card playing and kindred amusements. 

The dormitory plan for rooming the students, 
adopted in almost all colleges, prevailed in the young 
academy. When Mr. Alexander had shown himself 
a poor disciplinarian, his salary was cut down from 
$500 to $350, and finally his resignation was accepted 


by the Board of Trustees. This was probably in 
August, 1817, but the Secretary unfortunately omitted 
the date from the minutes in which the event was 
recorded. Mr. Alexander was at the next meeting of 
the Board, elected President as usual, but in 1818 he 
was defeated, and he never again attended the Board's 
meetings. His seat as a trustee was retained till 1825, 
when it was declared vacant by non-attendance. 

Mr. Alexander was born in Northfield, Mass., July 
22, 1755. He was graduated at Yale College in 1777. 
How it happened that he came to Onondaga Hollow 
is not known. Possibly it was through the influence 
of the Presbyterian pastor there, the Rev. Dirck C. 
Lansing, who married his daughter. Mr. Alexander 
died in 1828. His son, William H. Alexander, founded 
the Alexander Iron Works of Syracuse, which busi- 
ness was continued by his son, William H. Alexander, 
under the firm name of Alexander, Bradley & Dun- 
ning. That business is now carried on by William 
D. Dunning. 

Although the statement does not appear in the 
records, possibly by design, there is abundant evidence 
to show that the academy, as conceived by Mr. Alex- 
ander, was intended for a boys' school. 

The courses of study, the rules and regulations, 
the penalties, the absence of all allusions to sex and 
the general sentiment of that day regarding the proper 
sphere of woman all go to show that girls were not 


expected to share in the benefits of the Onondaga 
Academy. Although the movement for the advanced 
education of young women was not then thought of 
in this country, yet here in this valley, as early as 
1816, girls were admitted to study in an institution 
modeled after Yale College and intended as a rival to 
Hamilton College. Mr. Alexander, a rigid, old-school 
teacher, opposed the project, and so strenuously that 
a compromise was effected. On September 14, 1815, 
a committee was appointed to purchase a lot and build 
a female academy and boarding house adjacent to 
Onondaga Academy. The sum of $2,000 was named 
as the limit of cost, and Mr. Alexander was directed 
to solicit funds for the purpose among the ' ' friends 
of science," and he was to be relieved of a part of his 
duties of instruction and allowed his traveling ex- 
penses. Nothing more was recorded of this project 
except an item some years afterwards to the effect 
that Mr. Alexander had sued the board for his trav- 
eling expenses and an allowance of $1.50 a day. The 
first teacher employed in the female department was 
Miss Otis of Troy; and she was succeeded by Miss 
Ann Maria Tredwell, who afterwards became the wife 
of Lewis H. Redfield. The distinction between the 
male and female departments was retained till the 
academy came under the control of the Presbytery of 
Onondaga, but after the first twenty years it was 
merely a nominal one. 


After Mr. Alexander's resignation, the school was 
managed temporarily by the usher, Philo Gridley, 
who had been employed to reside in the building and 
preserve order, until the Rev. Samuel T. Mills was 
appointed principal. Then came Sylvanus Guernsey, 
probably in 1821; the Rev. Jabez Porter, who taught 
only a few months; and then, in 1824, Samuel B. 
Woolworth was appointed principal. During the 
principalship of Mr. Woolworth the courses of study 
were greatly revised, the old puritanical, inquisitorial 
code of government was set aside; and simple, sensible 
rules were adopted. During his six years of service 
he revived the reputation of the school in all parts of 
the country, and brought in a class of students that 
have made their mark in societj T . 

The Rev. Edward Fairchild was the next principal 
from 1830 till 1831; J. L. Hendrick from 1831 till 
1815. Mr. Hendrick was a man of many traits, eccen- 
tric, careless in his manners, good-natured, jolly, 
quick-tempered. More anecdotes are remembered 
of him than of any other of the principals. For 
the first two or three years of his term he was 
continually quarrelling with the trustees. There were 
quarrels about stoves, quarrels about stove-pipes, about 
the division of room rent fees, about his salary, about 
a garden for the principal. But all these matters 
were adjusted, and Mr. Hendrick became very pop- 
ular. During his principalship the academy regained 
much of its lapsed prestige. 


The Rev. George Thompson was principal from 
1845 till 1847. About this time the academy was 
virtually passed over to the Presbytery of Onondaga, 
under the agreement that all appointments to the 
Board of Trustees or to the faculty should be made on 
the nomination of the Presbytery. The next prin- 
cipal was the Rev. Clinton Clark. The administration 
of Mr. Clark was signalized by the complete reunion 
of the male and female departments. James M. Burt 
was the next principal in 1847. He had a stormy 
term of three or four years, in which the whole com- 
munity was scandalized by the rumor that some of 
the students had indulged in dancing and music. 
John Dunlap was the next principal in 1851. 

Plans were made in 1852 for a new building, which 
was completed in 1854. In that year Mr. Dunlap was 
succeeded by Mr. Bennett; and then came in rapid 
succession Mr. Lindsley, Mr. Kellham, Mr. Phelps and 
Benjamin F. Barker, though probably not exactly in 
this order, for the records are confusing. Theodore 
D. Camp was principal from 1859 till 1864. He was 
succeeded by Jacob Wilson, during wnose adminis- 
tration the academy was transferred to the Onondaga 
Free School District to be managed by a Board of 
Education chosen by the people. This was in 1866. 

The last meeting of the academy trustees was held 
on the 12th of May, 1866, and the proposition to turn 
over the property of the corporation to the new school 


district on condition that the latter assume the debt 
of 82,500 upon it was adopted unanimously. The 
trustees were glad to be relieved of their duties. 

William P. Goodelle was principal from 1866 to 
1868, excepting about one month in 1867, when Isaac 
Bridgman was principal; then came Wheaton A. 
Welch from 1868 to 1874; Mr. Harrington in 1875; 
O. W. Sturdevant from 1875 to 1887; E. D. Niles till 
1892; and A. W. Emerson till 1803. The present 
principal is David H. Cook. 

The Onondaga Academy has graduated about 7,000 
persons, a large portion of whom have led prosperous 
and honored and eventful lives. A large number of 
the residents of Syracuse received their early edu- 
cation in this institution, and their commencement 
exercises were for many years a great social event, 
attracting many of the graduates and a large number 
of the residents of this city. The academy has passed 
through many vicissitudes of fortune, encountering 
adverse criticism, neglect on the part of its trustees 
and faculty and graduates and students, surviving 
many periods of financial discouragement, and yet 
presents at the present time a healthy and prosperous 
appearance. It ranks to-day among the best academies 
in the State. 



Ephraim Webster, the first white person who made 
a permanent settlement in Onondaga county, was a 
very remarkable man. It was through his friendship 
and influence that Asa Danforth and Comfort Tyler, 
the pioneers in settling Syracuse, were permitted to 
settle in Onondaga Hollow in 1788. Many things 
have been written and told of him, but much of his 
history, preserved in tradition and print, is unfortun- 
ately more romantic than real. It is known that Mr. 
Webster wrote out the story of his life, abounding in 
adventures among the Indians; and there has been 
some conjecture as to what became of this manuscript. 
The story that was commonly reported, and which 
has been handed down in tradition, is that the author 
intrusted his manuscript to a young law student in 
Onondaga Hollow for the purpose of having it pub- 
lished in New York city ; and that the young man, 
after returning from New York city, told Mr. Web- 



ster that lie had lost it while passing down the Hudson 

There are several people now living in Syracuse 
who are the descendants of Ephraim Webster; and 
there are some old people among them who can well 
remember the generation that followed this early pio- 
neer. The story which comes from them, and it bears 
strong marks of probability, is that Mr. Webster 
either sold or gave his manuscript to James Fenimore 
Cooper, the great novelist, who used it in writing the 
celebrated Leather-Stocking tales. The life and char- 
acter of Ephraim Webster are very similar to those 
of Natty Bumppo, the hero of Cooper's Indian stories. 
In speaking of his hero, Mr. Cooper says in his preface 
to " The Deerslayer:" " He is too proud of his origin 
to sink into the condition of the wild Indian, and too 
much a man of the woods not to imbibe as much as 
was at all desirable, from his friends and companions ;" 
though he also adds that "in a moral sense this man 
of the forest is purely a creation." 

Mr. Webster not only won the friendship of the 
Onondaga Indians, some time after they had ceased 
to be man-eaters, and the gratitude of the early set- 
tlers of this county, as was shown in the large grants 
of land given him, but he was very serviceable to the 
government of this State not only but also to the 
United States. The dates of Webster's birth and 
death and the dates of the writing of the Leather- 


Stocking tales, the character and life of Webster and 
of Cooper, add strong probability to the statement 
that Webster was Cooper's guide through the forests 
of New York State and that he furnished valuable 
material to America's great author. Webster was 
born, according to the old family Bible, June 30, 1762, 
and died October 16, 1824. In "The Pioneers," the 
first of the series written, the Leather-Stocking is 
represented as already old and driven from his early 
haunts in the- forest by the sound of the axe and the 
smoke of the settler. " The Deerslayer " should have 
been the opening book, for in that work he is seen 
just emerging into manhood. "The Pioneers " was 
published in 1822; "The Deerslayer" in 1841. 

Mr. Webster is known .to have been an eloquent 
man, for it was -through his persuasive tongue that 
he frequently escaped death at the hands of the sus- 
picious and jealous Indians. The following sketch of 
his life is from a manuscript in the possession of the 
Onondaga Historical Association : "I was born in 
the town of Hemsted, in the State of New Hampshire, 
and when I attained my twenty-first year, as the war 
was then raging between the colonies and the mother 
country, I enlisted into the army of the former for 
eighteen months and joined the regiment of Colonel 
Jonson, also from New Hampshire. We marched 
immediately for Lake Champlain, and on arriving in 
the vicinity of Ticonderoga the corps to which I 


belonged was divided into two bodies and stationed on 
each side of the lake which was here about three miles 

Here follows the story of one of Webster's feats, 
when, in company with another soldier, he swam 
across the lake to carry dispatches to the other portion 
of the troops. 

" When the term of my first enlistment expired, I 
returned home and spent three months and then again 
enlisted under old Colonel Jonson and continued in 
the service till the close of the war. During the last 
part of my service I was stationed at Greenbush, and 
while there I formed an acquaintance with a Mohawk 
Indian by the name of Peter Yarn. Being desirous 
of learning the Indian language, after receiving my 
discharge I returned home with him, whose residence 
was on West Canada Creek. Here I spent three 
months without speaking a word of English during 
the time. Being now able to converse with the Indians 
in their own language, when the spring was fairly set 
in I went to the mouth of Onondaga Creek and com- 
menced a very brisk trade with the Onondagas for 
furs and other articles of native merchandise. After 
three weeks' traffic, having accumulated a pretty good 
stock in trade I went to Albany, employing several of 
the Onondagas to accompany me to assist in trans- 
porting my goods. 

" While in the city I learned from several persons 

Webster's manuscript 245 

of importance, one of whom Avas General Schuyler, 
that the British agents at Maumee and other western 
posts were striving to induce the western tribes to 
continue a warfare against the country and had also 
sent an agent to the Six Nations to induce them to 
unite in hostilities; and as to the agents that our 
government had sent to treat with these western tribes, 
they had slain one, bribed the second and frightened 
the third away. 

" Under these circumstances after some hesitation 
I was inclined to enlist as an agent of the govern- 
ment under disguise to visit these western tribes and 
ascertain how far they had been tampered with by 
British emissaries. Having become somewhat of a 
favorite among the Onondagas and neighboring tribes, 
twelve hundred, principally Mohawks and Oneidas, 
volunteered to accompany me, who pledged themselves 
to bring me back in safety, or to fight in my defence 
as long as a warrior remained. Partly under the pre- 
tence of holding a grand council with the western 
tribes and partly that of a general hunt, we visited 
the different posts along the western frontier without 
molestation or suspicion and remained nearly six 
months in the country. As I could speak the Indian 
tongue fluently and was dressed in the Indian style, 
my companions had no difficulty in concealing my 
true character by representing me as having been 
captured by the French while a young child and 


afterward purchased by the Mohawks and adopted 
into their tribe. 

" In this borrowed character, by being constantly 
on my guard, I passed without suspicion and thus I 
had an opportunity of discovering the machinations 
of the English, which I communicated from time to 
time to my employer. At the end of six months, 
however, I was taken sick with a western fever and 
returned home with my companions. When the 
English discovered that their trickery had been dis- 
covered and communicated to our government, they 
were highly indignant against me and offered fifteen 
hundred guineas for my person or my scalp. They, 
however, no longer hesitated but signed the treaty of 
peace which included the western tribes that were in 
their particular interest. I now returned to my old 
station at the mouth of the Onondaga Creek, and 
resumed my business of trafficking in furs. 

"The second year after my return, a Mr. Newkirk 
came into the country with two men in his employ, 
bringing with him two barrels of New England rum, 
five barrels of whiskey, a quantity of blankets, some 
red yarn, several dozen hawkbells, a large stock of 
small white beads. I soon discovered that he was a 
man of intemperate habits, his favorite beverage being 
hot flip, made in a cup manufactured from an ox-horn. 
As I discovered that his habits would soon make a 
finish of him if persisted in, I was anxious to talk 


with hi in on the subject. It was, however, a consid- 
erable time before I could find him sufficiently sober 
to listen to me, and then he very abruptly replied that 
' God Almighty owed him a debt of fifteen hundred 
dollars, and he was determined to settle the account 
as soon as possible.' 

" He continued about three months after this and 
died alone in his cabin in a fit of what would now be 
called delirium tremens, his men having left him 
some days before. With a slab of cedar shaped some- 
what in the form of a shovel I dug a grave in a sand 
knoll near by, placing a slab at the bottom, two at 
the sides, with another to lay over the body, when 
the Indians, who had taken the liberty of staving the 
head of one of the casks of rum and drinking to their 
heart's content, gathered around in great numbers and 
manifesting their feigned sorrow in a manner that beg- 
gared all description, whooping, singing and weeping 
and dancing, they tumbled into the grave faster than I 
could drag them out, till finding it impossible to pro- 
ceed any farther, while they were present, I finally 
hit upon the plan of advising them to go and get 
another drink. 

' ' Approving of the suggestion which was so much 
to their own taste I was soon left alone, and in a short 
time I had completed my melancholy task. I con- 
tinued still to reside at my old station and for several 
years carried on a successful trade in furs, ginseng 


and other Indian commodities, till I was called again 
into the service of the State by assisting in surveying 
the military tracts, in which are now the counties of 
Cayuga, Seneca and some other places. After this I 
returned once more to Onondaga and settled on the 
mile square of land that was confirmed to me for my 
services among the Indians." 

These words complete the main portion of the man- 
uscript but to it has been added this paragraph : ' ' Mr. 
Webster lived several years on the above-mentioned 
mile square as a prosperous farmer but still keeping 
up a traffic with the Indians for furs and other articles 
particularly for ginseng, which he prepared and sent 
to the Chinese market. In the summer of 1822 or '23 
he took a journey to the country of the Senecas with 
a view of purchasing their annual stock of this article 
when he was taken sick and died in his seventy-third 
year. He was buried on the western bank of the 
Tonawanda in the town of Pembroke, where his dust 
still slumbers without even a stone to mark the spot." 

The dates in this concluding paragraph are evi- 
dently incorrect, and doubtless arose from the fact 
that the exact date of Webster's death was for some 
time in doubt. It was in his sixty-third year that he 
died. The old family Bible gives the date of his death 
as October 16, 1824, which is doubtless correct. The 
date also in the opening paragraph is evidently incor- 
rect, as a reference to the history of the Revolutionary 

HIS father's family 249 

war will clearly show, as compared with the old fam- 
ily Bible substantiated by a document referred to in 
the next paragraph. It is not surprising that at that 
early day a man who had lived so long among the 
Indians should have been somewhat remiss in his 
memory of dates. 

From a paper in Webster's handwriting it is learned 
that his father, Ephraim Webster and Phebe Parker 
were married by Ebenezer Hay, December 21, 1752. 
His parents' children are thus given: Samuel, born at 
Chester, Rockingham county, New Hampshire, Decem- 
ber 29, 1753 ; Phebe, born atChester in 1756 ; Asa, born 
at Chester, April 25, 1785 ; Susanna, born at Hamstead 
in the same county, May 16, 1760, and died April 2, 
1795; Ephraim, born at Hamstead, June 30, 1762; 
Parker, born at Hamstead, April 5, 1765; Mary, born 
at Hamstead, April 3, 1768; Sarah, born at Hamstead, 
April 20, 1770; Moses, born at Hamstead, October 27, 
1772; Ebenezer, born at a place whose spelling looks 
like Neberry Coos, April 13, 1775, and died, he and 
his mother, May 1, 1775. There is a Newbury in 
Merrimack county, New Hampshire. Ephraim Web- 
ster was married the second time, to Sarah Wells of 
New Chester, January 8, 1778, at New Salisbury. 
There is a Salisbury, Merrimack county, New Hamp- 
shire, where the great Daniel Webster, son of Eben- 
ezer Webster, was born in 1782. The statesman Daniel 
and the pioneer Ephraim were distant relations. 


Ephrairn. Webster's children by his second wife were : 
Ebenezer, born at " Neberry Coos," October 2, 17 78; 
John, born at " Neuburry Coos," September 8, 1780; 
Henry, born at New Chester, March 11, 1784; Betsy, 
born at Chester, May 31, 178G and died July 12, 1788. 
Ephraini Webster died at New Chester, August 18, 
1803, aged seventy-three years, having been born May 
24, 1730. 

When Colonel Jonson raised his regiment in New 
Hampshire in the fall of 1777, young Ephraim, then 
15 years old, enlisted and marched immediately to 
Lake Champlain, arriving at Fort Ticonderoga, which 
General Lincoln vainly attempted to recapture from 
the British. The surrender of General Burgoyne at 
Saratoga, which occurred soon after, put a stop to 
further campaigning, and Webster's regiment returned 
to winter quarters. When the term of Webster's first 
enlistment expired, he returned home where he spent 
three months and then again enlisted under Colonel 
Jonson, continuing in the service of the Revolution- 
ary Army till the close of the war in 1783. 

During the last year of the service, he was sta- 
tioned at Green bush, near Albany, and there formed 
the acquaintance of a Mohawk Indian, whose name 
was Peter Yarn. Webster, then 21 years old, did not 
return home. There is a well authenticated story to 
the effect that he had became disappointed in love ; 
and believing that he had been deceived by one, he 

Webster's landing 251 

lost confidence in all, and determined that lie would 
forever abandon civilized life. He accompanied the 
Indian to his home on West Canada creek in Oneida 
county, and there learned to speak the Indian lan- 
guage. He finally located at Oriskany, where he 
became a successful trader, dealing in furs and other 
articles of native merchandise. 

Webster was present at the great council, held at 
Fort Stanwix (now Rome) in 1784, at which a treaty 
was made between the Six Nations and the United 
States. The confidence which the young man had 
gained from the officers of the government and from 
the Indians is shown in his having been dispatched 
for the Senecas, who were slow in coming to the 
council meeting. He remained two years at Oriskany, 
and during that time made several excursions with the 
Indian hunters to Onondaga. 

He became intimate and quite a favorite with the 
Onondagas and was invited by them to come and 
trade with them. Accordingly in the spring of 1786, 
he went to Onondaga with a boat load of goods, 
brought from Schenectady by water. A trading 
house was erected on the east bank of the Onondaga 
creek, then a stream of considerable size, near where 
it empties into the lake ; and there the stock of goods 
was exposed for sale. This spot was known by the 
Indians as "Webster's Camp," and it afterwards be- 
came known to the early white settlers as " Webster's 


Landing." When lie had accumulated a good stock 
of furs from the Indians, he would take them to Albany 
or New York. 

Webster was generally accompanied in his trading 
expeditions by some white man ; but the most promi- 
nent traders with whom he became associated were 
Asa Danforth, Asa Danforth, jr., and Comfort Tyler, 
whom he met at their home in a small clearing in the 
town of Mayfield, in Montgomery county. A warm 
friendship sprang tip between Webster and the elder 
Danforth, both of them having served in the Revolu- 
tionary war. The result was that Danforth with his 
family and Tyler settled in Onondaga Valley, May 22, 
1788. This was the first permanent settlement by the 
white people, men and women, in this county. The 
ruins of the old Danforth home, located in the most 
fertile and picturesque part of the county in the imme- 
diate vicinity of Syracuse, are still standing. 

And now the settlement at Onondaga Valley, then 
called Onondaga Hollow, began to grow. Other men 
with their families, many of whom became distin- 
guished throughout the State, settled there. When 
the town of Onondaga was cut off from the town of 
Manlius in 1798, Webster was made the first Super- 

Webster was made a Lieutenant of militia whereof 
Asa Danforth was Lieutenant-Colonel Commandant, 
April 11, 1798, and Captain of militia, whereof Elijah 



Phillips was Lieutenant-Colonel Commandant, Jan- 
uary 22, 1801. He was also made Inspector of beef 
and pork for Onondaga county, April 8, 1803. He 
became a Justice of the Peace at Onondaga Valley in 
1805. Webster made his home at Onondaga Valley, 
at a point up the Onondaga creek, easily reached by 
boat from Onondaga lake. He used the place called 
" Webster's Landing " for trading purposes only, that 
location being exceedingly unhealthy. 

During the controversy with the Indians in the 
western part of this State, which so soon followed the 
Revolutionary war and which was instigated by the 
British, between the years 1788 and 1794, Webster 
was employed by the State to gain intelligence in the 
vicinity of the Miamis. He was fully successful in his 
mission, reported to the satisfaction of those by whom 
he was employed, and received suitable reward. He 
was often with the Onondaga Indians at Oswego, 
while the fort was retained by the British, and ren- 
dered valuable service to the State. He would dress 
as an Indian, and he eluded every effort by the British 
to discover his real identity. 

So highly was he esteemed by the Onondagas, that 
he was early granted by them a mile square of land in 
the most fertile part of Onondaga Valley, extending 
westward from Onondaga creek and southward from a 
line a short distance north of what afterwards became 
the old Seneca turnpike road. This land, containing 610 


acres, was finally granted to Webster by the Legisla- 
ture in 1795 for the services he had rendered the State. 
But Webster lost this property through indorsing the 
paper of his friends. The Onondagas, to again show 
their great esteem for him, gave him 300 acres, 
bounded on the north by lands owned by Joseph 
Bryan, Samuel Wyman and Abiel Adams, and on the 
east, south and west by the Indian residence reserva- 
tion. This gift was confirmed by a grant from the 
State, January 14, 1823, according to the copy of the 
document in the County Clerk's office, but in July 13, 
1823, according to the deeds of this property after- 
wards recorded. 

Webster established his homestead on the 300 acre 
grant. The house was a very substantial building, 
65 by 20 feet, two stories high, having hickory beams 
and oak joists, mortised in the plate above and below, 
and it was clapboarded with pine. The house now 
owned by Munroe Mathewson, about half a mile be- 
yond the poor house at Onondaga Hill, is very similar 
in appearance and construction. 

After Webster's death, the widow continued to live 
there ; and after her death, the house became the 
property of Mrs. Samuel A. Beebe, and then of her 
son, Arthur Beebe, by whom it was transferred to 
George W. Hunt. The house was located two miles 
south of Onondaga Valley and one mile south of 
Dorwin Springs. It was completely destroyed by fire 
early Sunday morning. May 3, 1891. 


Ephraini Webster was a kind, social and obliging 
man, mild in disposition, of excellent character, good, 
practical judgment and of an intelligence far above the 
average. He was absolutely without fear. He was 
often heard to speak of his wanderings among the 
Indians as the happiest days of his life. When he 
settled among the Onondagas he married an Indian 
woman, who died shortly afterwards. He married 
another Indian woman from whom he was divorced, 
as mentioned in a previous chapter. But he did not 
live with her "near twenty years" as stated in 
" Cheney's Reminiscences," since the old family Bible, 
now in possession of the Webster family, gives the 
date of his marriage to Hannah Danks as Nov. 19, 
1796. When the white people began to settle around 
him, he married Miss Hannah Danks by whom he had 
several children. But Webster led an unhappy life 
with the Danks woman as his wife. 

It is known that he left Onondaga for Tonawanda 
creek in Genesee county, and that he was buried in 
the Indian burying ground just west of the Council 
House where the Six Nations held their meetings. 
This was October 16, 1824. There is a quit claim deed 
recorded in the County Clerk's office, dated December 
30, 1824, in which Lucius Halen Webster, a son of 
Ephraim, transferred to his mother his interest in the 
300 acre patent from the State. When Webster went 
away, he did not intend to return. In the early part 


of the century, probably in 1803-4, he visited his old 
home in New Hampshire which he had not seen since 
he had left the army. It was supposed by his father's 
family that he had died. 

Webster's body was removed from Tonawanda to 
the white cemetery on the Lewiston road, west of 
Alabama Centre in Genesee county, the transfer being 
made in October, 1831. That is the final resting place 
of the man who made an excellent character for 
Cooper's " Leather-Stocking Tales." 

Ephraim Webster, by his second Indian wife, had 
a son Harry, who inherited much of his father's abil- 
ity and character and who was Head Chief of the 
Onondagas. Harry Webster's sons were George, 
Richard and Thomas. Thomas Webster is now a 
chief among the Onondagas. The children of Ephraim 
and Hannah Webster we* Alonzo, Lucius Halen, 
Iantha, Amanda and Caroline. The children of 
Alonzo, who was called Deacon, were Alonzo M., 
Hetty A., Ephraim, Orris, Rosetta Amanda and 
William. The children of Lucius Halen, a horse 
doctor, were Emeline, Caroline, Ephraim and Lucius 
Halen. The children of Iantha, who married Richard 
Beebe, were Samuel, Charles, Edwin, Wallace, George 
and Elizabeth. Amanda, who married Abiel Adams, 
had one child, Udora. Caroline, the youngest child 
of the pioneer, married Samuel A. Beebe, a brother 
of Richard Beebe. These Beebe brothers were both 


farmers and prominent men in Onondaga Valley. 
Samuel was at one time Supervisor. Arthur Beebe, 
the attorney of this city, is the only child of Samuel 
and Caroline, and he lived many years in the old 
Webster homestead. Hannah, the widow of Ephraim 
Webster, married Samuel Wyman, whose farm ad- 
joined hers; and she died January 29, 1837. 

Lucius Halen, generally called Halen, was Web- 
ster's eldest child by his wife Hannah ; and he was 
named after Dr. Isaac Halen of Philadelphia. Dr. 
Halen was a great friend of Ephraim Webster and 
the two carried on quite a business in selling ginseng 
to the Chinese market. Ephraim would collect the 
root from the Indians and send it to Dr. Halen, who 
would ship it to China. It was while collecting this 
ginseng in the western part of the State that Webster 
was taken sick and died. After his death, and after 
the property had been divided by giving each child 
forty acres, Harry Webster commenced six eject- 
ment suits in 1836 to recover possession of the 300 
acres of land which his father had left ; but his suits, 
which ran along for two years, were unsuccessful. 



One of the early landmarks of this city, and one that 
was widely known throughout the State, was the 
Botanic Infirmary of Dr. Cyrus Thomson, located in 
Geddes, on the old turnpike road — now known as 
Genesee street — on the south side of the Erie canal. 
The Infirmary was a large, three-story, brick building, 
whose principal feature was the ten large stone columns, 
constructed after the Ionic style of architecture and 
made of stone brought from Vermont. Those stone 
columns were a great curiosity in the early days, 
as they were the first stone that were imported into 
this county ; and it was considered a great waste of 
money, as Onondaga stone was abundant. It is said 
that an old inhabitant, who came from Verm< >nt, when 
inebriated through strong drink and pining for his 
mountain home, would embrace those stony pillars 
with much warmth of affection, saying they reminded 
him of his childhood days as they too came from 


THE BOTANIC INFIRMARY IN 1844. -From an old wood cut. 


There is some dispute among the old inhabitants 
of this city as to who built this old landmark. The 
records in the County Clerk's office show that Andrew 
Phares was granted by the State, September 19, 1827, 
a patent to lot 6, block 35 and block 69, " of the village 
of Geddesburgh." This landmark now stands on lot 
6 of block 35. On January 3, 1829, Mr. Phares trans- 
ferred the entire property to John Dodge, Asa Phillips, 
Amos P. Granger, James Harris, administrator of 
Gordon Newton, deeeased, Elijah W. Curtis and 
James Tuttle for $1,600. Mr. Phillips "of the town 
of Granby, Oswego county," sold his interest to John 
Dodge "of Salina " for $100, December 13, 1829. Mr. 
Tuttle "of Camillus " sold his interest to Mr. Dodge 
" of Salina " for $22.55, April 3, 1830. Messrs. Harris, 
Granger and Curtis sold their interest to Mr. Dodge 
"of Elbridge" for $300, June 4, 1831. This left the 
entire property in the name of Mr. Dodge, who was 
then evidently living in Elbridge. All of these men 
were prominent and influential. 

In October, 1831, Mr. Dodge gave a mortgage for 
$3,000 on the property to Jirah Durkee of Water- 
vliet, Albany county. This mortgage was assigned to 
Pvutger B. Miller, August 13, 1832, and by Mr. Miller 
to Chauncey Rowe, December 6', 1833. The mortgage 
was foreclosed November 22, 1834, in the suit of Mr. 
Rowe against John Dodge, William H. Alexander, 
Silas D. Camp, James Johnson, Barnhardt Nellis, 


William T. Richardson, the president, directors and 
company of the Bank of Auburn, Ralph Clark, Charles 
Williams, George Brinley, William C. Stimson, 
Henry Bassett, the president, directors and company 
of the Steuben county bank, and Lemon Smith. The 
next record in the County Clerk's office shows that 
the property was sold at public sale, held at the Syra- 
cuse House July 16, 1835, by Chester Hayden, Master 
in Chancery, to Cyrus Thomson for $3,350. 

By some of the old inhabitants, it is said that John 
Dodge built the building, and that he raised the mort- 
gage with this object in view ; and that his purpose 
was to use the building for a hotel and general stores 
in supplying the canal trade. But Thomas G. Alvord, 
who has been closely identified with what is now 
Syracuse since 1833, and whose memory is excellent, 
says he knows that Dr. Cyrus Thomson built the 
building, since he himself was present when it was 
being built. Mr. Alvord says that the firm of Clark 
& Alvord, composed of Elizur Clark and Thomas G. 
Alvord, sold a large amount of lumber to Dr. Thomson, 
and he thinks this lumber went into the building. 
According to Mr. Alvord, this old landmark was built 
by the Doctor in the early '40's for an infirmary, but 
it was not so used many years, as the business was not 
very successful. The building was used for a hotel, 
after Dr. Thomson had ceased to use it for an infirmary. 

Dr. Cyrus Thomson is remembered as a very 


eccentric man, rough and uneducated, though possess- 
ing considerable natural ability, shrewd, a close 
observer, and fond of telling amusing anecdotes. He 
was the son of Samuel Thomson, the founder of the 
Thomsonian system of medicine, and was born Jan- 
uary 20, 1797, in Alstead, New Hampshire, where his 
father was also born. His father and grandfather 
were farmers in his younger days, and he was raised 
as a farmer boy. 

When he became 21 years old, he had saved $40, 
and concluded to try his fortune in the far West. He 
started for Ohio, a distance of 600 miles, on foot, in the 
company of four other men. He located in Ohio, and 
in the following year returned to Boston ; but shortly 
afterwards started again for Ohio. In January, 1820, 
he arrived at Fabius, Onondaga county, where he 
called upon Ephraim Rue who had been practicing 
after his father's system for three years. Young 
Cyrus and Rue got into trouble in their irregular 
practice of medicine, and February 8, 1821, they were 
subjected to a trial and were imprisoned. But Cyrus 
succeeded in procuring bail of $1,600. His father 
advised him to remain at the seat of his persecution 
and continue his practice. 

Cyrus Thomson and Miss Maria Mayo were married 
in Bridgeport, Madison county, March 27, 1823, and 
shortly afterwards they settled in Geddes, Onondaga 
county. The Doctor observed of this county : 


"Perhaps no other county in the Union is better 
adapted to the wants and prosperity of mankind than 
the county of Onondaga." A letter from his distin- 
guished though eccentric father, dated Madison 
county, New York, July 26, 1823, says that Samuel 
Thomson of Boston, Mass., authorized Cyrus Thomson 
to act as his agent in selling his medicines and 
to become a member of the Friendly Medical 
' Botannack " society ; the agreement lasting two years. 

The young man was very successful in making 
money through what was termed his irregular methods 
of practicing medicine. He was frequently arrested 
and fined, but always made it a point to prescribe for 
such patients only as were likely to recover, saying it 
was the best way to elude the law as he could then 
show that few if any of his patients died from his 

This botanic treatment, called the Thomsonian 
system, was founded by Samuel Thomson, who claimed 
to have " discovered the fatal error of Allopathy — the 
doctrine that irritation, fever and inflammation are dis- 
eases." Samuel wrote in his book published in 1825 : 
"Our life depends on heat ; food is the fuel that 
kindles and continues that heat ; heat I found was 
life, and cold was death, and that all constitutions are 
alike," meaning in regard to their anatomy and phy- 
siology, their powers and their wants. 

The usual medicines prescribed by Dr. Cyrus 

HOT DROPS NO. 6 263 

Thomson were lobelia, or Indian tobacco ; hot drops 
No. 6, composed of undistilled whiskey, gnm of myrrh 
and cayenne pepper ; and sweating. The treatment- 
was very heroic ; and, if the patient's constitution 
was strong enough, it was almost sure to drive from 
the stomach almost every form of disease. The Doctor 
distilled his own herbs, which were many and all 
found by him in this county. His reputation extended 
far and wide, and many sick people came to him for 

The Doctor's principal practice, and the one in 
which he made his fortune, was in selling his medi- 
cine through his agents and in traveling about the 
country, prescribing for all forms of disease. There 
are many of the older people who can well remember 
this eccentric Doctor, and his invariable prescription 
of "hot drops No. 6." Many people were doubtless 
benefited by this kind of medicine, which was very 
severe in its effects upon the body, but it would hardly 
be popular in these more enlightened days. As already 
stated, the Doctor had accumulated sufficient money 
in 1835 to purchase the land, which is finely located ; 
and in the course of a few years he erected the build- 
ing for an infirmary. The building was covered with 
signs in large letters. One of those signs read : " The 
Lord has caused medicines to grow out of the earth 
and why should man despise them ? " 

When the canal was enlarged a part of the eastern 


side of the building was cut off, thus giving the Doctor 
a claim for damages against the State. Testimony 
was taken June 30, 1858, on an award of $2,203.57 
given November 9, 1852. The claimant had appealed to 
the Canal Board, and April 12, 1854, the case was sent 
back. The next award was 81,000. On April 2, 1860, 
a total award of -$6,520, including interest of $2,520 
for the nine years, was given the Doctor, who, during 
all this time, had left the eastern side of his building 
unfinished and open, exposed to all kinds of weather. 
Dr. Thomson received his diploma to practice as a 
Thomsonian Botanic physician in this State from the 
Thomsonian Medical Society of the State of New York 
June 14, 1837. The Doctor became one of the rich 
men in his day, owning considerable real estate, bonds 
and mortgages; but he allowed his property and his 
business to slip from him, when he found that his 
sons, Cyrus and John, would not continue his calling. 
In the early part of the '60's he almost ceased to 
practice medicine, refusing the many urgent appeals 
made upon him. His wife died March 23, 1836, and 
the following year he married Miss Emeline Morse, 
with whom he lived twenty years. His third wife is 
still living. 

In 1865 he transferred an undivided half of the 
property in question to Maria E. Thomson, his daugh- 
ter by his second wife, and in 1867 he transferred the 
other undivided half to his son, John Thomson. 

THE BOTANIC IXFIKMAKY.-From a recent photograph. 


Maria, who married Robert Brown, transferred her 
interest to John, April 13, 1868. John died September 
19, 1808, leaving the property to his wife, Sarah M. 
Thomson, who purchased the inherited interest from 
her son, Frank H. Thomson, when he became of age. 

Dr. Cyrus Thomson died August 13, 1867, at Bar- 
dolph, 111., where he had gone on a visit to his son 
Cyrus, who is still living. The doctor is remembered 
as a most eccentric individual, but he knew how to 
coin money by humbugging the people. The Th< >m- 
sonian system, which once enjoyed great prosperity, 
is no longer practiced, except in a limited manner by 
irregular practitioners. 

One of the Doctor's books was entitled "Learned 
Quackery Exposed ; or Theory According to Art, as 
Exemplified in the Practice of the Fashionable Doctors 
of the Present Day," and compiled by Cyrus Thomson 
and published by Lathrop & Dean, printers, Syracuse, 
1844. Among the expressions found in the pamphlet 
are the following : ' ' Whenever an individual presumes 
to differ from the opinions of the Medical Faculty of the 
present day, he is sure to be persecuted and ridiculed 
and misrepresented. But all this persecution has no 
other effect than to open the eyes of the people to their 

" Truth is abroad in the world, and the spirit of 
inquiry has gone forth, and the day has arrived when 
men of learning and genius are neither afraid nor 


ashamed but are proud, to avow themselves Thomson - 
ians, of the Thomsonian school, which has extended 
its influence through every section of our country 
from Maine to Georgia, and from the Atlantic to the 
western wilds, and will continue to spread 'till the 
name of Thomson is resounded throughout the world 
from the equator to the poles.' The vegetable rem- 
edies, which the God of nature has scattered with a 
lavish hand over every hill and valley of our country 
must and will eventually entirely supersede the use 
of mineral poisons. Thousands have been hurried to 
an untimely grave by the use of these poisons, when 
simple vegetable remedies would have relieved and 
cured them almost immediately. 

"According to this system, the stomach is the 
grand reservoir from which all parts of the body are 
nourished, and by proper food well digested, warmed, 
enlivened and invigorated. While the stomach is in 
a well-regulated state, the whole man is in perfect 
health. When through cold, carelessness in diet, or 
whatever course, the stomach becomes disordered, the 
food is not properly digested, and the whole man 
becomes diseased. Now, a medicine is wanted to 
create an internal heat to remove obstructions, to expel 
the cold from the system, and restore the digestive 
powers, and then the stomach resumes its office, the 
food nourishes and strengthens the body and the man 
regains his health and strength. 


"Shall nian, when he is acting for the good of his 
fellow man, be persecuted because the course he is 
pursuing in the practice of medicine is well calculated 
for the relief of suffering humanity? No; forbid it 
Heaven! Forbid it Justice! Let the spirit that is 
abroad in the land, the elder brother of freedom, 
* * * put an end to the reign of the Medical 
Faculty and invest all their gloomy subjects with the 
rights and illuminations of the Thomsonian system of 
practice. If this pamphlet shall produce the effect to 
open the eyes of one man or woman and start a train 
of thought which shall lead him or her to flee from 
the lancet and the poison of the apothecary shop, the 
author will feel himself amply repaid for the trouble 
and expense of presenting it to the public." 

The pamphlet consists mostly of poetry, showing 
how the medical faculty is killing mankind by admin- 
istering calomel, mercury, arsenic, opium, physic, 
blisters and lance. There is a long poem on " Three 
Crafts," described in long metre to the tune of " False 
Are the Men of High Degree." The burden of the 
song is this : 

' ' The nests of college birds are three, 

Law, Physic and Divinity ; 

And while these three remain combined, 

They keep the world oppressed and blind. " 

There are many examples given of the fate which 
befell those who persecuted the Thomsonian prac- 
titioners. The following verse is the lament of a 


"learned M. D." who tried very hard to have a 
Thornsonian indicted by the Grand Jury for not pre- 
scribing the drugs used by the ' ' regular faculty " man : 

' 'Where'er [ have met them, I've found a repulse, 

Too dreadful to mention ; I'm almost convulsed ; 

I thought I should conquer, the laurel should wear, 

But the thought of my fortune I hardly can bear. 

I found me afflicted with a sore disease, 

Which took off my child, my wife did not please. 

She often distrusted my honor before ; 

She caught me too sleek by the meal on the floor." 

And then there is " A Remarkable Vision " which 
came to Dr. Cyrus Thomson "while in silent repose 
upon his bed." The apparition, clothed in a long- 
white garment, said his name was Deception, the 
representative of many who kill their patients by 
deadly weapons, such as arsenic, mercury, quinine, 
opium, nitre, lancet and knife. The dream caused 
some serious reflections in the Doctor's mind. He 
said to himself: " If arsenic, mercury and nitre are 
in their nature poison, can they in the hands of a 
physician be medicine ? If when taken by accident, 
these things kill, will they cure when given designedly? 
Does not mercury go to the same part of a man when 
taken by accident as when given by the doctor?" 

There is another long poem called " A new Song, 
composed by the Friendly Botanic Society." The 
following verses describe the principles of the Thorn- 
sonian system : 


" Tis now my object to unfold, 

In a brief way to you, 
My system, or the gen'ral rule, 

Which you must keep in view. 

" See when the patient's taken sick, 
The coldness gained the day, 

And fever comes as nature's friend, 
To drive the cold away. 


" The body now has lost its fire. 

The water bears the sway ; 
Quick must the air be rarified. 

Or it will turn to clay. 

' ' Then place the patient in a room, 

A lively fire prepare ; 
And give him Nos. one and two, 

As warm as he can bear. 

" And place his body o'er a steam. 
With hot stones from the fire, 

And keep a blanket round him wrapped, 
To shield him from the air. 

' The body now receives the heat, 

To overpower the cold : 
If there be inward fire, 
Life will the vic'try hold. 

' ' But if there is no inward heat, 

For you to kindle to, 
Then all your labor is in vain, 

You must bid him adieu. " 


There is an ode to Lobelia, a seed which the 
Creator has 

" strewed on hills and plains, 
To ease mankind of gripes and pains. - ' 

The pamphlet closes with " Lines on the Thorn - 
sonian System," written by a patient at the Infirmary. 
This eulogistic poem concludes thus : 

" The spark is struck that shall illume the world, 

The sacred banner of the Truth unfurled. 

Thomson appears — upreared by nature's hand, 

A second Luther — sent by God's command ; 

Poor and unlearned, untutored from the farm, 

To pluck from trampled herbs, a healing balm, 

Though ' all the powers of darkness ' storm and rage, 

A ruthless war against the system wage, 

'Tis vain — the day is past — Truth's sacred light 

Shall banish error to the shades of night." 


1 4 

1 1 


. 4»«ii^ MliBII'f 1 ^, ™ 

THE JKUKV RESCUE BLOCK.— From n recent photograph. 



The rescue of the fugitive slave Jerry, in the fall 
of 1851, was probably the most stirring event in the 
history of Syracuse. This city was at that time a 
busy, active place of some twenty-five thousand 
inhabitants. The citizens were intelligent, cultured 
and very patriotic. Public meetings in the Town 
Hall for the consideration of public questions were 
common. To be sure, in the early days of the imme- 
diate emancipation movement, those who came to 
Syracuse to propound abolition had met with a 
reception which literally made them feel " at home;" 
cabbages and more offensive missiles had been show- 
ered upon the speakers by an excited audience, and 
the meetings had been broken up. But far sooner 
than in most places, William Lloyd Garrison and his 
friends, on the one hand, and Gerrit Smith and his 
friends, on the other, persuaded the people in Syracuse 
to listen quietly to their pleading. Some converts 
were soon made, especially by the less radical wing, 



led by Gerrit Smith. When the Rev. Samuel J. May, 
the ardent abolitionist and admirer of Garrison, took 
charge of the Unitarian Church in 1845, he found the 
ministers and many of the members of the orthodox 
Congregational Church, as well as the Unitarian, 
were decided abolitionists; and several members of 
the Presbyterian, Methodist and Baptist Churches 
openly favored the great reform. 

When the " underground railroad" was started, 
Syracuse became a favorite " station." Two colored 
clergymen, the Rev. J. W. Loguen and the Rev. S. R. 
Ward, were at the head of this movement. They 
found a ready and willing helper in the Rev. S. J. 
May. Mr. Loguen's house, located at the northeastern 
corner of East Genesee and Pine streets, was used as 
the stopping place for the poor fugitives on their way 
to Canada. Several of the leading bankers and busi- 
ness men always stood ready to contribute funds and 
ask no questions. Hotel keepers complained because 
Southerners were learning by experience that Syracuse 
was not a safe place to visit with a retinue of slaves. 
The trustiest negro was apt to be persuaded by some 
one of his moral duty to escape from bondage during 
the night ; and next morning his master would leave, 
swearing to go to some other town next time he had 
to stop in the North. Not a few negroes preferred 
remaining in Syracuse to continuing on to Canada. 
The Syracuse directory for 1852 gives the names of 


ninety-seven negroes at the end of the book in a 
separate list headed " Colored Persons." There were 
probably more than this in the city, and the greater 
part were escaped slaves. 

Such was the condition of the city when, on the 
18th of September, 1850, Millard Fillmore, President 
of the United States, signed the Fugitive Slave Bill. 
The " monstrous " provisions of this law caused great 
indignation among the abolitionists of the North, and 
in many cases the resentment spread to the less radical 
members of the more liberal communities. 

In a few places public indignation meetings were 
held. What place could be more fitting for such a 
meeting than Syracuse ? All the city papers printed a 
notice, calling "the citizens of Syracuse and its vicin- 
ity, without respect to party," to meet in the City Hall 
on the 4th of October at early "candle lighting," "to 
make an expression of their sense of the act of the 
present Congress," known as the Fugitive Slave Law. 
This notice was signed by nearly twenty names, some 
of them being those of men never identified with the 
abolition movement. 

On the day appointed, the City Hall was filled to 
overflowing with men whose party scruples had at 
least been overcome by their sense of justice. The 
Mayor of the city, Alfred H. Hovey, presided, and 
the following prominent citizens were elected vice- 
presidents: E. W. Leavenworth, Horace Wheaton, 


Jason Woodruff, Oliver Teall, Robert Gere, Lyman 
Kingsley, Hiram Putnam and Dr. Lyman Clary, who 
was the only one among them previously known as 
an active abolitionist. A set of thirteen resolutions 
was passed with but one dissenting voice. J. H. 
Broad, a young Democrat and a lawyer, made a speech 
in favor of upholding the law; but the speech was 
received in silence. 

The resolutions referred to the Fugitive Slave Law 
as "a most flagrant outrage upon the inalienable 
rights of man and a daring assault upon the palladium 
of American liberties ;" they called upon the people 
to read the law "in all its details, so that they may 
be fully aware of its diabolical spirit and cruel 
ingenuity, and prepare themselves to oppose all 
attempts to enforce it;" they "recommended the 
appointment of a vigilance committee of thirteen 
citizens, whose duty it shall be to see that no person 
is deprived of his liberty without due process of law." 
The names of the vigilance committee as announced 
were: C. A. Wheaton, Lyman Clary, V. W. Smith, 
C. B. Sedgwick, H. Putnam, E. W. Leavenworth, 
Abner Bates, George Barnes, P. H. Agan, J. W. 
Loguen, John Williams, the Rev. R. R. Raymond 
and John Thomas. 

The meeting was adjourned till the 1st of October. 
During the week the "Friends of the Union " had 
opportunity to get themselves together if they could, 


but the public sentiment against the new " Law" was 
too strong. The second meeting was even more 
strongly enthusiastic than the first. Resolutions were 
passed declaring ife to be "the dictate of prudence as 
well as good fellowship in a righteous cause that we 
should unite ourselves in an association pledged to 
stand by its members in opposing this law, and to 
share with any of them the pecuniary losses they may 
incur under the operation of this law ;" and also that 
"such an association be now formed." Besides this, 
a petition for the repeal of the act was signed by a 
large number of people and sent to Congress. 

In justice, it must be said that there was a sparsely 
attended meeting of the " Friends of the Union " men 
afterwards. This was presided over by Major Moses 
D. Burnet, but this counter-convention proved a failure 
and its officers deserted it. 

The leaders in the abolition movement in the 
central and western parts of New York, most of them, 
belonged to the Liberty Party, at whose head stood 
Gerrit Smith. This party differed from the Anti- 
Slavery Party, whose stronghold was in the New 
England States, in that it claimed that slavery was 
unconstitutional; while the Anti-Slavery Party ad- 
mitted its constitutionality, but preferred the destruc- 
tion of the Union and the constitution to the contin- 
uance of slavery. This difference of point of view 
between the two parties, which were really working 


for a common end, often caused much bitterness of 

When, however, the Anti-Slavery Party, in the 
spring of 1851, was denied a place of meeting in New 
York city, it was glad to accept the invitation of the 
Syracuse abolitionists to hold its meeting in this city. 
The convention was held on the 7th, 8th, and 9th of 
May, and was very successful. Gerrit Smith and the 
Rev. Samuel J. May welcomed the society. The reso- 
lutions unanimously passed by the society were as 
radical as usual. One of the resolutions read : "That 
as for the Fugitive Slave Law, we execrate it, we spit 
upon it, we trample it under our feet." 

The Liberty party itself had several local meetings 
in Syracuse during the spring. The doctrines of this 
party, as announced in the resolutions adopted at its 
national convention in Buffalo on September 17, 1851, 
were: "That righteous civil government enacts no 
laws, enforces no laws, obeys no laws, honors no laws 
for slavery." Resolutions were also then passed, 
declaring it right to oppose the execution of the 
Fugitive Slave Law. 

There were a number of people in Syracuse, 
however, who pretended, at least, to admire law and 
order above all things, and to fear to hurt the rights 
of the South. These " Friends of the Union " became 
alarmed at the great activity shown by the abolition- 
ists, and to offset it they invited Daniel Webster to 
deliver an address. 


Mr. Webster came on the ninth of June, and spoke 
to a large audience from the balcony in the Courier 
building, overlooking the square in front of the City 
Hall. He ended with these words : " Those persons 
in this city who mean to oppose the execution of the 
Fugitive Slave Law are traitors! traitors! traitors! 
This law ought to be obeyed, and it will be enforced ; 
in this city of Syracuse it shall be enforced, and that 
too in the midst of the next Anti-Slavery convention, 
if there shall be any occasion to enforce it." 

There still existed the association, formed by many 
of those present, at the indignation meeting of October 
4th, 1850. A rendezvous had been fixed upon, and it 
was agreed that anyone who might know or hear of a 
person in danger should toll the bell of an adjoining 
meeting-house in a particular manner. Two or three 
times in the ensuing twelve months the alarm was 
given, but the cause for action was removed by the 
time the members reached the rendezvous, excepting 
in one case, when it was thought advisable to send a 
guard to protect a threatened man to Auburn or 
Rochester. At last the time came. 

Among the escaped slaves then living in Syracuse 
was a man named Jerry. His last name is in doubt. 
Some say it was McHarg ; some say it was McHenry. 
He was generally called simply Jerry ; and he was 
officially known as Jerry. In the winter of 1849-50 
he entered the cabinet store of Charles F. Williston, 


who became the Democratic Mayor of the city in 185G, 
and was given employment in turning lathes. He was 
then about thirty years old, large of frame and very 
powerful. It was said that he had escaped from his 
master's plantation in Missouri. Jerry afterwards 
engaged in the cooper trade in the shop of F. Mack in 
the First ward. He was here alone one morning 
quietly at work when he was seized from behind, 
handcuffed and taken before the United States 
Commissioner, J. F. Sabine, upon the pretense that 
there was a warrant against him for theft. He there 
learned that he was arrested under the fugitive slave 
act. The Commissioner's office was in the old Town- 
send block, located in West Water street, between 
South Salina and Clinton streets. 

Jerry was arrested on the first of October, 1851. 
The city was filled with visitors. An unusually good 
county fair, then at its height, had attracted hundreds 
of the farmers from the regions round about. And 
to crown it all the Liberty Party State Convention was 
in session at the Congregational church. A building 
now known as Convention Hall, located on the north 
side of East Genesee street, directly west of the 
Courier building, is standing on the site. 

At the convention the State officers for the fall 
elections had just been nominated, when the ringing 
of the bell in the Congregational church brought 
everybody to their feet. The meeting was at once 



adjourned, and the delegates went in a body to 
Commissioner Sabine's office. Every church bell in 
the city, save that of the Episcopal church, rang out 
the alarm. The entire city was aroused, and the 
people flocked to the Commissioner's office. 

Meanwhile the trial was going on. Jerry had been 
arrested by the United States Deputy Marshal Henry 
W. Allen, on a warrant issued the day before for the 
apprehension of a colored man known as William 
Henry (in the warrant named Jerry), on the claim of 
John M. Reynolds of Marion county, Missouri, repre- 
sented by James Sear of Newark, Knox county, 
Missouri. James R. Lawrence, United States Attorney 
for the District of Northern New York, and Joseph W. 
Loomis appeared as counsel for the claimant ; and 
Leonard Gibbs of Washington county, who had been 
attending the Liberty party convention, appeared in 
behalf of the alleged fugitive. 

Mr. Sear testified that he knew Jerry (pointing to 
the alleged fugitive) ; became acquainted with him in 
1820, when he first knew John M. Reynolds, and knew 
Jerry till 1845; knew Jerry's mother, and if living she 
was with John M. Reynolds or his father-in-law, 
William Henry, in Marion county, Missouri; knew 
Jerry's mother after his birth. 

The sympathy of the crowd inside and outside the 
Commissioner's office was clearly with Jerry; while 
the case, as it stood, seemed to be clearly against him. 


After the case had been adjourned at half past two for 
half an hour, that a larger room might be obtained, 
Jerry, acting upon the impulse of the moment, threw 
himself into the crowd, rushed down the stairs and 
into the street, and started on a run for liberty. The 
Marshal and his deputies tried to follow, but their 
path was made difficult. Although the crowd opened 
to let Jerry through and closed again when the officers 
tried to pass, the handcuffs so impeded the captured 
man's motion that he was overtaken before having 
run many blocks. Jerry was seized just as he was 
about to get into a carriage that would have carried 
him to liberty. After a scuffle which left his body 
bare and bleeding, with nothing left to cover him but 
his pantaloons and part of his shirt, he was thrown 
into the cart of a truckman, who had been pressed 
into the service. One of the Deputies sat on his body 
to keep him down ; and thus he was driven through 
the streets to the police office and thrust into the back 
room. This police office was in the building, located 
on the northwestern corner of West Water and Clinton 
streets — a building now known as the Jerry Rescue 

An excited crowd, a few ready to aid, the vast 
majority incensed against the officers, had followed 
them to the place where they arrested Jerry and back 
again to the police office. The ill treatment of the 
poor black man caused indignation in every breast. 


Jerry was in a perfect rage, a fury of passion. The 
Rev. Mr. May, at the request of the Chief of Police, 
went into the little room where he was confined, and 
after some difficulty succeeded in quieting him. 

Meanwhile, the vigilance committee was preparing 
for action. Soon after Jerry was taken to the police 
office, Thomas G. White invited a few brave spirits 
into the counting room of Abner Bates to settle 
upon some plan of action for rescuing Jerry. The 
men adjourned to meet at Dr. Hiram Hoyt's office at 
early candle-light, and to bring with them as many 
good and true and brave spirits as they could vouch 
for. It was about dusk when one by one, and far 
enough apart to disarm suspicion, some twenty or 
thirty men sauntered into the office of Dr. Hoyt. 

"It was agreed," writes the Eev. Samuel J. May in 
his "Recollections of the Anti-Slavery Conflict," "that 
a skillful and bold driver in a strong buggy, with the 
fleetest horse to be got in the city, should be retained 
not far off to receive Jerry when he should be brought 
out ; then to drive hither and thither about the city, 
until he saw no one pursuing him ; not to attempt to 
get out of town, because it was reported that every 
exit was well guarded, but to return to a certain point 
near the centre of the city, where he would find two 
men waiting to receive his charge. With them he was 
to leave Jerry, and know nothing about the place of 
his retreat. 


"At a given signal, the doors and windows of the 
police office were to be demolished at once, and the 
rescuers to rush in and fill the room, press around and 
upon the officers, overwhelming them by numbers, not 
by blows, and so soon as they were confined and 
powerless by the pressure of bodies around them, 
several men were to take up Jerry and bear him to the 
buggy aforesaid. Strict injunctions were given, and 
it was agreed, not intentionally, to injure the policemen. 
Gerrit Smith and several others pressed this caution 
very urgently upon those who were gathered in Dr. 
Hoyt's office. And the last thing I said, as we were 
coming away was: 'If anyone is to be injured in 
this fray, I hope it may be one of our own party.' " 

But this was not all that was being done towards a 
rescue. The court room overlooked the Erie canal on 
one side, while close by the door was a bridge. On 
either side of the canal, in front of the building, 
was a large open square; and this was filled with 
excited men, while many a woman could be seen here 
and there in the crowd as well as filling the windows 
of all the buildings overlooking this exciting scene. 

The bridge spans made a most excellent place from 
which to address the multitude, and the abolition 
orators made the most of their opportunity. Samuel 
R. Ward, the colored preacher, spoke with all the 
earnest sarcasm, if not with quite the skill, of ar 
Antony. He reminded the people that there was a 


law on the statute books which flew into the face of 
one of the first principles of the Declaration of Inde- 
pendence. Nevertheless, it was a law and all patriotic 
citizens must obey it, though they might be ashamed 
to hold up their heads afterwards ; it controverted the 
golden rule which they had all learned at their mothers' 
knees, but it was a law and they must bow before it ; 
yonder locked in a room and awaiting the judgment 
of his captors, was a man who had committed no 
greater crime than to wish to breath the same air of 
freedom with themselves. Yet the law said he might 
be loaded with chains and carried away like a dog ; 
and the law was paramount. C. C. Foot of Michigan 
and others addressed the crowd in similar strains. 

The officials who had the arrest in charge became 
alarmed during the afternoon, and tried to get the 
militia out to keep order. Marshal Allen commanded 
the Sheriff of the county, William C. Gardiner, to bring 
the militia to his aid. Sheriff Gardiner could not do 
this, but instead ordered Captain Edward R. Prender- 
gast to get his company in order, ready for action if 
needed. But there had, as yet, been not the slightest 
breach of the peace, and the crowd had been remark- 
ably well behaved, considering the excitement. The 
news that the militia had been called out caused a gen- 
eral murmur of indignation in the city. This reached 
the ears of Colonel Origen Vandenburgh, who at once 
countermanded the orders of the Sheriff, which the 


latter had no right to give. It might be added that 
Colonel Vandenburgh was the moving spirit in orig- 
inating the scheme of the "underground railroad" 
in New York city. The police of the city, with the 
exception of a few who had been pressed into service 
of the government, were in sympathy with the general 
feeling. The United States officials, few in numbers 
as they were, were at the mercy of the crowd. 

At 5 o'clock the examination of the prisoner was 
resumed. HerveySheldon and David D. Hillis appeared, 
to assist Mr. Gibbs in behalf of the alleged fugitive, 
and J. R. Anderson appeared to assist Messrs. Law- 
rence and Loomis for the claimant. The testimony 
of Mr. Sear was resumed ; but before any progress 
was made Commissioner Sabine consented to hear the 
claim of the defense, that the prosecution should 
produce evidence that persons were legally held to 
service in Missouri. The excitement of the large and 
increasing crowd outside the office was becoming 
intense, and a number of windows in the office were 
broken by stones thrown against them. At 7 o'clock 
the Commissioner adjourned the court till 8 o'clock 
the following morning. 

The crowd outside had become so excited that it 
was clear nothing but the rescue of Jerry could satisfy 
it. The rescuing party from Dr. Hoyt's office had 
just arrived on the scene, blackened like negroes and 
otherwise disguised ; and they were armed with clubs, 



axes, rods of iron or whatever they could find. The 
windows were broken in, and the casements were 
attacked with axes and bars of iron ; but so firm were 
the fixtures that progress was slow. Finally a timber 
about ten feet long and four inches thick was used as 
a battering ram. By the application of this powerful 
instrumentality, the casements were soon stove in, 
and nothing remained to the rescuers but to enter and 
overpower the police, who were retained to guard the 
outer door of Jerry's prison. The assailants now 
rushed through the apertures into the office, led by 
J. M. Clapp, Peter Hollenbeck, James Davis and 
others. At this moment, Ira H. Cobb and L. D. 
Mansfield, who had remained in the police office to 
look after Jerry, turned off the gas, and left the room 
in darkness. The partition between the rescuers and 
the victim was a strong one, and the door was locked. 
The axes and iron bars and other weapons were again 
used. Marshal Fitch partially opened the door and 
pointed his pistol at one of the rescuers. He received 
a blow on his arm from a rod of iron which broke the 
bones; and the pistol and arm fell down together. 
The Marshal, distracted by pain and fear, leaped out 
of the north window of the room onto the side of the 
canal, and thus escaped. The other officers opened 
the door and thrust Jerry into the arms of his friends, 
and thus escaped injury to their persons. 

Jerry was received at the door by Peter Hollenbeck 


and William Gray, both colored men and the latter a 
fugitive slave. His body was mostly naked, being 
covered only by tattered pantaloons and shirt, which 
hung on him in rags. He was suffering from a 
wounded rib and other bruises received by the harsh 
treatment of his captors. His powerful frame was 
perfectly helpless because of his shackles. 

Jerry was taken in a sort of triumphal procession 
through the great crowd of people to the Syracuse 
House and thence to the railroad depot ; but the mass 
of humanity was so dense that the carriage to take 
him off could not come to him. Several rescuers now 
ran in opposite directions through the crowd, crying : 
"Fire! fire! fire!" In a short time Jerry was left 
alone with a few brave men, who lifted him, groaning 
with pain, into a carriage. It was a long and wander- 
ing ride that he took that night. He was finally taken 
to a colored man's house in the eastern part of the 
city, where his shackles were with some difficulty 
removed. He was then clad in female attire and 
taken to the house of Caleb Davis in Genesee street, 
his rescuers not being willing to trust his colored 

Jerry was too ill to be moved for several days. 
Only five or six people knew of his whereabouts. It 
was generally supposed that he was in Canada. Some 
abolitionists got so incensed with Mr. Davis for his 
denunciations of the perpetrators of the outrage on 



law and liberty that they wanted to make it warm for 
him. A liberal reward had been offered for Jerry's 
apprehension, and in some way a faint suspicion was 
aroused in the minds of those most eager for his arrest, 
that he was still in the city. The roads were all 
watched. Four days or so after the " Rescue," Jerry 
was able to go forward. 

The ' ' article " could not, for obvious reasons, be 
forwarded by daylight, and night would not suffice to 
reach the St. Lawrence river. One night Jerry was 
hidden under some straw in a covered wagon, and 
driven rapidly towards the north. Some hint of his 
escape reached the ears of the "Patriots," and the 
wagon was instantly pursued by two or three others. 
There are numerous toll gates in the north part of 
Syracuse, along the Cicero plank road. Before the 
first wagon, they all opened like magic ; but the drivers 
of the pursuing buggies never before encountered such 
stupid and sleepy gate-tenders. Two hours before 
Jerry left the city, Caleb Davis had driven over the 
route and left some money at every toll gate. Under 
such unecpial conditions, the chase was very soon 
given up. 

The next morning at day break, the fugitive and 
his friend drove into the barnyard of a Mr. Ames, a 
well-to-do farmer in the town of Mexico. Mr. Ames 
was a Quaker and an Odd Fellow. It was because he 
was an Odd Fellow and had been written to by a 


brother in the lodge that he received his visitors 
kindly, gave them provisions and shelter and speeded 
them on their journey, though, as he said, he was an 
old Hunker Democrat and had no sympathy with 
their kind of people. So the day was passed in the 
haymow, and a very liberal supply of food was 
furnished by the kind-hearted women of the family. 

At dark, Jerry was driven to the house of a Mr. 
Clark, near Oswego. After some trouble and a delay 
of several days, the captain of a small vessel agreed 
to set sail after dark. By him Jerry was taken to 
Kingston, where he soon was established again in his 
trade as a cooper. In Kingston Jerry married; and 
according to all accounts he lived a happy and com- 
fortable life there for four years, when he was taken 
ill and died. 

As to just what sort of a man Jerry was, it is hard 
at the present dav to learn. His friends, the aboli- 
tionists, praised him in the highest of terms. The 
"Patriotic" papers made him out the most worth- 
less of negroes. Said the Syracuse Journal at that 
time: "We notice in all sections of the country the 
papers represent that Jerry was a very bad fellow, 
that he was a thief, etc., and had been in the peni- 
tentiary four times in this city. This, if true, would 
have very little to do with the merits and demerits of 
the Fugitive Slave Law or Jerry's rescue. It could 
not be expected that a man brought up thirty-five 


years in the midst of slaves, where all the command- 
ments of the Decalogue are set at naught, would have 
a very nice sense of morals. Yet Jerry was not so 
bad as many represent. His commitments to the 
penitentiary all grew out of difficulties in regard to 
the woman he was living with. He was never charged 
or convicted as a thief or a robber." 

If the more morally earnest men and women of 
Syracuse took a high-minded satisfaction in the influ- 
ence the " Rescue " would have upon the treatment in 
the North of the escaping fugitives, the less intellectual 
women were not above getting pleasure in trying to 
torture the defeated United States officials in a very 
feminine way. They carefully packed up Jerry's 
shackles and sent them by express as a present to 
President Fillmore. They presented James R. Law- 
rence, counsel for the Government in the Jerry case, 
with thirty pieces of silver — three cent pieces — as the 
price of betraying iunocent blood. Many more similar 
acts they performed. 

The news of Jerry's rescue traveled throughout 
the entire country ; it became a National affair. In 
the course of a week all the newspapers in New York 
State and many beyond had published some account 
of the "Jerry Rescue." By far the greater number 
severely censured the entire proceeding, though but 
one paper in Syracuse, the " Copperhead " Star, took 
this stand. There was great indignation aroused. 


The Albany Argus, the chief Democratic paper, 
said: " The recital of the outrages upon the law and 
its ministers at Syracuse will be read with mingled 
astonishment and shame. They are a reproach to the 
city where they were permitted, a burning disgrace 
to the State at large. This is the first instance of 
forcible resistance to the execution of the laws of the 
Union that has occurred in this State. It is the first 
instance where an armed mob has attempted, with or 
without success, to overcome a judicial tribunal by 
violence, to trample on the law." 

The Washington Union seriously recommended 
that the city be placed in a state of siege by the army, 
and be declared out of the Union until it repented of 
its sins and manifested a disposition to return to its 

On the 15th of October, it began to look serious 
for the men who participated in the rescue of Jerry. 
Five men were arrested and taken to Auburn to be 
tried before Judge Alfred Conkling; and there was 
every indication that more arrests were soon to follow. 
The men arrested were Moses Summers, Stephen 
Porter, James D. Davis and two colored men : William 
Thompson and John Brown. A process was also 
served on Ira H. Cobb, but he was ill and unable to 
answer it. 

The warrants on which these men were arrested 
charged them with "having aided and assisted a negro 


man named Jerry, alleged to be a fugitive from labor," 
to escape from Deputy Marshal Allen. The prisoners 
were therefore commanded "in the name of the Pres- 
ident of the United States of America " to appear 
before the court. On the afternoon of that same day 
the case was opened. For the Government appeared 
James R. Lawrence, United States District Attorney, 
and for the prisoners, John G. Forbes, D. D. Hillis, 
and Q. A. Johnson. Bail to the amount of $2,000 
each was provided for the three white prisoners, and 
to the amount of $500 for the colored men. George 
Barnes, W. E. Abbott and R. R. Raymond signed the 
bonds. On the 16th, Prince Jackson and Harrison 
Allen, two more negroes, were arrested and brought 
before the court. 

Judge Conkling decided that it was "proper to 
presume that there is no testimony tending to fix 
upon the defendants the guilt of any higher offence " 
than that of " having unlawfully aided in the escape 
of an alleged fugitive from labor." The prisoners 
were held for the Grand Jury of the next United 
States District Court, to be held at Buffalo on the 
second Tuesday of November. Bonds to the amount 
of 82,000 for each of the four white men were signed 
by ex-Governor W. H. Seward, Lyman Clary, Oliver 
T. Burt, Henry Gifford, R. W. Washburn, George 
Barnes, W. E. Abbott, Abner Bates, John Ames, 
Hiram Putnam, E. W. Leavenworth, C. B. Sedgwick, 


Samuel Mead, Hiram Hoyt, Daniel McDougall, Charles 
A. Wheaton, R. A. Yoe, Charles Leonard and Alanson 
Thorp. Similar bonds of $500 each, for the four 
colored men, were signed by ex-Governor Seward. 

After the examination of the prisoners was over, 
Mr. Seward invited all the party who came from 
Syracuse in behalf of the prisoners, to his beautiful 
residence, and there entertained them delightfully. 

The following is a list of the witnesses introduced 
for the Government by James R. Lawrence: B. L. 
Higgins, Joseph Williamson, Joseph F. Sabine, 
George A. Green, John W. Jones, Thomas M. 
Masson, Henry M. Baker, Emery Ormsby, Sylvester 
House, Henry Shattuck, Charles Woodruff, Edward 
Prendergast, Oliver C. Stuart, Henry W. Allen, 
Benjamin P. Kinney, William Baldwin, Paige Newton, 
Charles P. Cole, Alonzo Torrey, George Blair, Willard 

At the Buffalo United States District Court, true 
indictments were found against the prisoners held over 
by Judge Conkling, and also against W. L. Crandell, 
L. H. Salisbury, J. B. Brigham and Montgomery 
Merrick. These men all gave bail to appear before 
the United States District Court at Albany in January. 
Nothing of importance developed at the Albany court, 
and the cases were transferred to the United States 
District Court at Canandaigua. 

At the time of the sitting of the court, Gerrit 


Smith went to Canandaigua and addressed a large 
crowd in the open air, using such forcible arguments 
that no jury could be empanelled on which there 
were not several who had formed an opinion against 
the law. So Judge Hall let all the "Jerry Rescue 
Cases " fall to the ground forever. 

At these various court sessions, only the cases of 
Enoch Reed, W. L. Salmon and J. B. Brigham, who 
had also been indicted, came to trial. The two latter 
were acquitted, and Reed died while waiting for an 
appeal from a conviction. 

The men indicted were hardly fair selections. Most 
of them had nothing to do with the rescue beyond 
a little active sympathy. Although Gerrit Smith, 
Charles A. Wheaton and the Rev. Samuel J. May had 
published in the papers an acknowledgment that 
they had assisted all they could in the rescue of 
Jerry, the attorney did not see fit to bring any of them 
to trial. 

H. W. Allen, the United States Deputy Marshal, 
and James Sear, the agent of the claimant, were 
arrested on warrants, charging them with attempting 
to kidnap a citizen of Syracuse. An indictment was 
found against Mr. Allen by the Grand jury of Onon- 
daga county, but the prisoner was discharged by Judge 
Nelson before whom the trial came, on the ground 
that he had acted under the United States laws. 

In answer to a call, signed by 800 citizens of 


Onondaga county, a meeting of those who "respected 
law and order " was held in the City Hall, October 25, 
1851. The meeting was called to order by Harvey 
Baldwin, and Moses D. Burnet was elected the presiding 
officer. The following vice-presidents were elected : 
B. Davis Noxon, Johnson Hall, Phares Gould, Miles 
W. Bennett, James Lynch, Lewis H. Redfield, Israel's. 
Spencer, Harvey Looniis, J. Stanford, John G. Forbes, 
Thomas Spencer, Rufus Stanton, Otis Bigelow, Hervey 
Rhoades, Daniel Kellogg and E. S. Phillips. The 
following secretaries were elected: W. H. Watson, 
Stephen D. Dillaye, Cornelius L. Alvord, Benjamin 
L. Higgins and E. C. Adams. The following com- 
mittee on ordinances was appointed :• George F. Corn- 
stock, John F. Wyman, W. M. Watress, Stephen D. 
Dillaye and Thomas T. Davis. 

The resolutions adopted stated that the "citizens 
of Syracuse and of the county of Onondaga deeply 
regret the commission of the outrage upon the law, 
and would express our unqualified abhorrence of the 
monstrous transactions," and "we repel the accusation 
that any number of the citizens of Onondaga were 
engaged in the affair." This meeting was all the 
"law and order" people did to prove their strength in 

For eight or ten years thereafter, on the first of 
October, there was held in this city a celebration of 
the Jerry Rescue. At first these celebrations were 


largely attended ; but year by year the interest in 
them died out and they were discontinued. In the 
speeches delivered on those occasions, Syracuse was 
declared the leader in the cause of resistance to 
"oppression and unconstitutional slave law ;" and 
ever since the civil war, Syracusans have been wont to 
ascribe to the Jerry Rescue the beginning of effective 
resistance to slavery in the North. 

There was not another attempt made to execute the 
Fugitive Slave Law in this part of the State. There 
was perfect safety here for fugitive slaves. And 
furthermore, the strength of the anti-slavery party 
was increased not only here but far outside, by the 
successful outcome of the affair. Syracuse was almost 
the only city of any size in the North, where the 
leaders of the anti-slavery faction had in their ranks 
many of the leading business men, lawyers, physicians 
and clergymen. But the distinguishing characteristic 
of the " Jerry Rescue " is that the leaders carried 
through the rescue, even in spite of the likely 
acquital of Jerry ; because they wished to work a 
moral effect upon the community. It was the work 
of enthusiasts in the cause of " freedom to the negro," 
rather than of sympathizers with a negro about to be 
returned to slavery. 



As one approaches the city from Onondaga lake, 
coming along North Salina street, he is reminded by 
the old-fashioned buildings, now almost deserted, that 
a village which once gave prosperity to many enter- 
prising merchants has almost passed away. The most 
picturesque of these old landmarks and the one that 
affects the imagination most vividly in portraying the 
commercial importance of Salina, when that village 
contained most of the wealth within the present limits 
of Syracuse, is the one lo.-ated in the middle of 
Exchange street, between North Salina and Park 
streets, and now adorned by a sign which shows that 
it was once used as a brewery by Dalton & Fleming. 

This building was erected close to the Oswego 
canal, a short branch of which runs directly in the 
rear of the building, and then passes through an 
underground outlet into the canal, a short distance 
away. The construction of the building, which is 
made of brick, three stories high and containing three 


THE WILLIAMS BUILDING.— From a recent photograph. 



stores, shows that it was admirably adapted for 
carrying on a mercantile business. From the many 
signs painted on the north side, facing the canal, it is 
evident that grape wine was once manufactured there. 

This brick block was erected in 1828, by Williams 
& Company, a mercantile firm composed of Coddington, 
Gordon and Frank Williams, the first two being 
brothers and the latter a cousin, who occupied the 
middle store. The store nearest North Salina street 
was occupied by Williams & Allen, and the one 
nearest Park street was occupied by Richmond, 
Marsh & Clark, composed of Thomas Richmond, 
George Marsh and Elijah Clark. Ira H. Williams, a 
brother of Frank, clerked for Williams & Company, 
and subsequently bought out the firm. He afterwards 
took into partnership John P. Babcock, the firm name 
being Williams & Babcock. This firm afterwards 
moved into Wolf street, where Ira H. Williams 
carried on business till about 1S78, when he died ; 
John P. Babcock naving died some years previously. 
Williams & Allen went out of business in the early 
'40's, and they were succeeded by another mercantile 
firm composed of John O'Sullivan Lynch and his 
brother James, who continued in business for about 
ten years. Richmond, Marsh & Clark went out of 
business about the same time with Williams & Allen, 
and their store remained vacant for a number of years. 

It should be stated that in 1825, when the middle 


section of the canal was opened and when the cutting 
of the lateral canal to the salt works in the same year 
gave still further stimulus to the community, Free 
street, between North Salina and Park streets, which 
contained almost all the large mercantile houses in 
the village of Salina, was entirely destroyed by the 
cutting through of the Oswego canal. After the matter 
had been discussed in the village a few years, a meeting 
was held, April 28, 1828, and it was resolved to lay 
out Exchange street, between Canal (now North 
Salina) street, and Salt (now Park) street, fifty feet 
wide and twenty-four rods long. William H. Beach, 
Mathew VanVleck and John G. Forbes were appointed 
appraisers. The street was named Exchange street, 
as it was an exchange for the business portion of Free 
street, which street extended from Lodi to Wadsworth 
(now Seventh North) street. 

This portion of Free street was simply placed nearer 
to Wolf street, and parallel with Wolf street, so that 
the business houses might be on the south side of the 
canal. Exchange street then became the principal 
thoroughfare for the village of Salina. 

The only business of any importance at that time 
not located in Exchange street was that conducted by 
Thomas McCarthy, father of the late State Senator 
Dennis McCarthy, who settled in Salina in 1808, and 
won the foremost position as a merchant and salt 
manufacturer. That store was located at the corner 


of Free and Park streets, the canal having made a 
slight bend to the north before reaching it, thus leaving 
it on the south side of the canal. 

Dean Richmond, who eventually became one of 
the leading railroad presidents in the country, was a 
merchant in Exchange street. Ichabod Brackett, who 
came to Salina about 1800 and who died in 1832, built 
a dwelling and store combined on the corner of 
Exchange and Park streets. Samuel P. Smith was a 
cabinet maker, probably the first of any prominence 
in Salina, and his store was also in this street and 
near Salina street. 

Some of the other merchants were Noah Wood, 
whose son, Marshall Wood, continues to keep a store 
in Wolf street, Hezekiah Barnes, Jeremiah Stevens, 
Hunter Crane, Felt & Barlow and Crane & Risley. 
Almost all these merchants dealt in groceries, dry 
goods, boots and shoes, hardware, etc., such as are 
generally found in country stores; and nearly all of 
them were interested in the manufacture of salt. It 
will be remembered by all the old Salt Pointers, who 
were always ready for a fight and rather liked it than 
not, that Frederick Ganier kept a very fine restau- 
rant in this street, in the golden days when Salt Point 
contained many rich young men. 

Noadiah M. Childs, who is still living, was a mer- 
chant, prior to 1841, in the old block, built by Williams 
& Company. He was afterwards, when occupying the 


Alvord building, in partnership with Miles W.Bennett, 
the firm name being Bennett & Childs. Aimer Pierce, 
now living in Park street, was a merchant in the 
Williams building in the 'GO's. In 1869 the building 
was used as a brewery by William Kearney and John 
Fleming, under the firm style of Kearney & Fleming. 
That firm continued in business about two years, 
when Mr. Kearney sold out his interest to Richard 
Dalton. The firm of Dalton & Fleming continued the 
brewery business some three or four years. Dr. J. H. 
Turk, at one time the keeper of the pest house, was 
the next occupant of the building, he using it for 
making grape wine. H. A. Moyer, the wagon man- 
ufacturer, afterwards used the building, which had 
been purchased in 1876 by John Green way for $2,600, 
as a storehouse. The two western stores were occu- 
pied in 1885 by D. H. Gowing, who continues there 
his business of manufacturing Rennet's extract used 
in the making of cheese. 

In 1840, a salt company was formed by Dean 
Richmond, Ashbell Kellogg, Hamilton White, Horace 
White, Thomas T. Davis, Henry Davis, Lewis H. 
Redfield, John Wilkinson, Frank Williams, Gordon 
Williams and Coddington B. Williams. The purpose 
of this company, composed of these influential and 
rich men, was to form a monopoly and control the 
entire salt industry. The company started by giving 
fourteen cents a bushel for the salt, when the market 


price was eight or nine cents; and it took the entire 
product. The plan was to ship the salt to the West, 
and sell it at large prices in the rapidly growing States, 
far removed from the sea coast. The western head- 
quarters was Columbus, Ohio ; and the company was 
there represented by Dean Richmond. The salt was 
shipped west and exchanged for wheat, which was 
shipped to the eastern market. But the company lost 
heavily on the salt and on the wheat. The country 
had not recovered from the disastrous panic of 1837; 
and there was a great stringency in the money market 
Among the principal creditors of this salt syndicate 
were the directors of the Bank of Pontiac in Pontiac, 
Mich. Those were times when " wild cat " banks and 
" wild cat " business ventures prevailed extensively in 
the western States. The great depression in money 
matters caused all the banks in Michigan to fail. The 
Bank of Pontiac had as its principal asset the Pontiac 
railroad, which is now called the Detroit, Pontiac and 
Milwaukee railroad. The State of Michigan had 
loaned its credit in building this railroad. The salt 
company took the railroad in payment for its salt sold 
in that State. These heavy losses in the west wiped 
out the entire capital of the salt syndicate ; for not 
only did the banks in Michigan fail, but also in 
Indiana and Illinois and the surrounding States. The 
State Bank of Indiana was the only bank that stood 
up under the financial depression, though the State 


Bank of Illinois had an existence, with large discounts 
on its money. 

As the men who composed this salt syndicate of 
Salina were stockholders and directors in the Onondaga 
County Bank, the Bank of Salina and the Bank of 
Syracuse, the failure of this salt syndicate came near 
causing the failure of these earliest three banks. 
Thomas G. Alvord, acting as attorney for the three 
banks, spent the winter of 1841-42 in Lansing, Mich., 
and negotiated with the Legislature of that State for 
the purchase of the Pontiac railroad. The State had 
loaned a large part of its stocks to build the road, 
when the "wildcat" banks collapsed. Mr. Alvord 
succeeded in buying the railroad, which had cost 
813(3,000, for $33,000. The road was then leased to 
Gordon Williams, and it was afterwards sold to him. 
It might be added that Dean Richmond afterwards 
went to Buffalo and engaged in the commission 
business; and that, like John Wilkinson, he eventually 
became a railroad king. 

THE STATE SALT BUILDING.— From a recent photograph. 



The old State building, located on the southeastern 
corner of North Salina and Exchange streets, and 
occupied for many years by the Superintendent of the 
Onondaga Salt Springs, is by far the most important 
landmark in the city of Syracuse ; for it was in that 
building the State government exercised parental 
control over the salt industry, to which this city owes 
its beginning and much of its prosperity and from 
which came a revenue that more than paid half the 
cost of the whole undertaking of building the Erie 
and Champlain canals. 

The building was .erected by the State government 
in 1828, when Exchange street was opened. The Salt 
Superintendent's office was in the extreme corner of 
North Salina and Exchange streets, and the Salt 
Inspector's office was in the southwestern corner of 
the building, opening into North Salina street. The 
Oswego Canal Collector had his office directly over 
the Superintendent's office, the entrance being in 



Exchange street. There was another office on the 
ground floor, to which entrance was had from 
Exchange street, and was occupied by the Salt 
Inspector, but afterwards by Enos T. Hopping and 
Thomas G. Alvord as a law office. 

This office was occupied by Mr. Hopping from 
1830 till 1840. The partnership extended from 1835 
till 1838. Mr. Hopping was appointed Brigadier- 
General of Volunteers by President Polk at the 
outbreak of the Mexican war. He died in 1844, in 
the Camp of Instruction at Mier on the Rio Grande, 
and his remains were brought to Salina, where they 
were buried with great honor. Mr. Alvord, who 
continues in the manufacture of salt and who is widely 
known as "Old Salt " for the great services he has 
rendered in protecting this industry, became Lieu- 
tenant-Governor of this State. 

The property on which this building was located 
was originally purchased from the State by Elisha 
and Dioclesian Alvord in 1807, about the time of the 
laying out of Salina by James Geddes. In 1813 the 
Alvord brothers made a division of their property, 
and this property fell into the possession of Elisha, 
father of ex-Lieutenant-Governor Alvord. Mr. Alvord 
sold the property, which included the Alvord building, 
and extending from what is now the Oswego canal, 
along North Salina street, through Exchange street 
and half through the next block towards Wolf street, 


to William Clark in 1825. Mr. Clark conducted a 
mercantile business in the Alvord building. He sold 
to the village of Salina his interest in Exchange street, 
when that street was opened in 1828, and sold to the 
State, in the same year, the property where the State 
building is now located. The building continues in 
the possession of the State, but the Superintendent's 
office has been removed to the stone building in North 
Salina street, between Willow and Noxon streets. 

In the upper part of this building on the third floor 
there was a public hall. The celebrated Hunters' 
Society, organized in 183G-37 for the purpose of aiding 
the "Patriot" war in freeing Canada from Great 
Britain and annexing it to the United States, for 
which project there was much sympathy in those days, 
held its meetings in that hall. About twenty-five or 
thirty men from Salina joined in the Canadian rebel- 
lion. The commanding officer of the regiment, which 
had its beginning in Salina, was General Von Schultz, 
and he was assisted by Colonel Martin Woodruff and 
Captain Stephen Bulkley. The regiment proceeded 
to Ogdensburg by the way of Oswego, crossed over 
the St. Lawrence river and occcupied the windmill 
just below Prescott as their fort. They were attacked 
by the British army and defeated in the celebrated 
Windmill battle. The officers were hung at Port 
Henry in Kingston. Some of the " Patriot " soldiers 
were pardoned, and some ran away and escaped. 


The first Superintendent of the Onondaga Salt 
Springs was William Stevens, whose appointment 
dated from June 20, 1797. He remained in office till 
his death in 1801, and was succeeded by Asa Danforth, 
after whom the village of Danforth was named, who 
was in office for five years. He was succeeded, April 
8, 1800, by Dr. William Kirkpatrick, the father of 
the present William Kirkpatrick, and he continued 
in office till 1808, when, for the two following years, 
he became a member of the Tenth Congress. Then 
for one year each, 1808-10, T. H. Rawson, Nathan 
Stewart and John Richardson held the office. Dr. 
Kirkpatrick was reappointed Superintendent in 1811, 
and continued in office till 1831, an unbroken term of 
twenty years. 

Then followed Nehemiah H. Earll till 1836; Dr. 
Rial Wright, father of the present Chief of Police, 
Charles R. Wright, till 1840; Thomas Spencer till 
1843; Dr. Rial Wright for a second term till 1845; 
Enoch Marks till 1848; Robert Gere, father-in-law 
of Congressman James J. Belden, till 1852; Hervey 
Rhoades till 1855. Vivus W. Smith, the father of 
ex-Postmaster Carroll E. Smith, was made Superin- 
tendent in 1855, and continued as such to and including 
the year 1864. 

It was during this period, in 1862, that the greatest 
yield was had from the salt springs in any one year 
in their history, the amount being 9,053,874 bushels. 


It was also during this period that the superintendent's 
office was removed to its present location. George 
Geddes, son of James Geddes, after whom the village 
of Geddes was named, was the next Superintendent, 
continuing in office till 1871. Then came John M. 
Strong, the present Canal Collector, till 1874; Archi- 
bald C. Powell, with a temporary four months' occu- 
pancy by Calvin G. Hinckley, till 1880; N. Stanton 
Gere, the son of Robert Gere, till 1883. The present 
incumbent, Peter J. Brumelkamp, was appointed 
Superintendent in 1883. 

Prior to 1797, the year in which the first Superin- 
tendent was appointed, when the manufacture of salt 
had reached 25,000 bushels, each person was a squatter, 
planting his kettles at the place most convenient to 
the shallow hole from which he first dipped, and 
afterwards pumped by hand, his salt water. From 
the very beginning of the use of salt water there had 
been local strife and contention about " prior rights." 
In order to settle these disputes, and at the same time 
to encourage and promote the manufacture of salt at 
the Onondaga Salt Springs, the first known sources 
of salt in the United States away from the sea coast, 
the State government created the office of Salt Super- 

The salt springs, known as the Onondaga Salt 
Springs Reservation, were purchased by the State from 
the Onondaga Indians by the treaties of 1778 and 1795. 


This reservation includes the greater part of the 
present city of Syracuse ; and of this large amount of 
land, conrprising about 10,000 acres, almost all of 
which, excepting what is used in the manufacture of 
salt, has been sold to individuals, the State continues 
to reserve the right to any salt well which may be 
found on the premises. 

In the early days of the salt industry, and for 
many years thereafter, the pioneers, however hardy 
and venturesome, were deterred from settling at ' ' Salt 
Point " — the name by which Salina has always been 
known — in consequence of the low, wet, marshy lands, 
where the salt water was found, which were the hot 
beds of the most deadly miasmatic diseases. To each 
man brave- enough to settle at " Salt Point," the State 
government gave for a term of years a salt lot, a store 
and house lot, a seven acre pasture lot and a fifteen acre 
marsh lot; and the manufacturer of salt was allowed 
to cut his wood from any part of the dense forests on 
the Reservation. 

Most of the early settlers came from Connecticut ; 
and they were either themselves soldiers of the Revo- 
hit ion or the sons of Revolutionary sires. They were 
as a rule, men of small means, unable to seek a market 
fai from home. In return for the salt, they received 
from the farmers all kinds of farm produce. In this 
way almost every salt manufacturer became a country 
merchant. Free street, and afterwards Exchange 


street, where almost all the stores were located, would 
become filled with farmer's sleighs; and the village 
of Salina would frequently contain more strangers 
than the taverns and private houses could well 

On account of the marshy grounds and the poor 
roads through the forests, transportation was mostly 
confined to the winter months, when the snow would 
allow of better traveling. But gradually, as the forests 
became cleared and better roads were made, the trade 
of the merchants extended also into the summer 
months. As the salt industry increased and became 
more prosperous, the natural water-ways through the 
inland lakes and the numerous rivers afforded the 
venturesome trader an excellent means of transporta- 
tion in batteaux and river boats. As early as 1799, 
salt was sold by Elisha Alvord in Detroit, while the 
stockaded town was still in possession of the British. 

The canal with its enlarged and greater reach of 
territory, causing many thriving towns to grow up in 
the wilderness, greatly benefitted the " Salt Pointers," 
who became rich merchants and built for themselves 
beautiful homes on the fine elevated lands in Salina. 
And now that the low lands have been improved by 
drainage and cultivation, Salina will compare favor- 
ably, as a healthy location, with any other portion of 
the State. Then came the railroad, built shortly 
before the civil war, which has superseded the canal 


and batteaux, as they superseded the wagon and 
sleigh; and to-day three-fourths of all salt sent to 
market goes by rail. 

The Salina steam pump house receives the brine 
from the DeWolf and Marsh groups, and forces it up 
into the tower, whence the brine is distributed to the 
various manufacturers of fine and coarse salt. The 
first settlers obtained the salt water by dipping it 
from shallow pits. As the demand for salt increased, 
the pits were made larger and deeper, and the pump 
took the place of the dipper and the pail. A well, 
curbed with wood, was built nearly opposite this State 
pump house, just across the side-cut canal ; and it was 
fourteen feet long, ten feet wide and twenty-five feet 
deep. The salt boiler would climb a ladder to the 
platform, elevated high enough to stand upon and 
work with the handle of the pump, adjust his trough 
and pump his required supply of salt water; and 
returning to his work he would dip the brine from 
his reservoir into his kettles. The hand pump was 
followed by horse power, which has been followed by 
steam power. The history of the progress of the 
manufacture of salt may be read in the depth and 
number of the wells which have been and now are on 
the Reservation. 

/frZ**^—) fltfw^*~>* 



The biographical sketch of Joshua Forman, which 
appears in "Clark's Onondaga," is here reproduced in 
its entirety, since it is probably the most authentic 
account of this distinguished man's life and since the 
valuable history written by Joshua V. H. Clark has 
long since been out of print : — 

Joshua Forman. — To give anything like a perfect 
biographical notice of this distinguished individual, 
would require a person more familiar with his public 
acts, more intimate with occurrences which transpired 
at the period in which he was most active, and one 
who knew better the public worth and private excel- 
lence of his character than the author. But as he, for 
a period of more than a quarter of a century, was a 
leader in the affairs of this county, and became 
identified with all the majestic projects of State 
policy, we cannot pass him by without an attempt to 
do justice to his merits. 

Joshua Forman was born at Pleasant Valley, in 


the county of Duchess and State of New York, the 
Oth of September, 1777. His parents were Joseph and 
Hannah Fornian, who, previous to the Revolution, 
resided in the city of New York. Upon the breaking 
out of the war and the approach of the British to that 
city, Joseph Forman with his family retired to 
Pleasant Valley, where the subject of this sketch was 
born. At an early age he evinced a strong desire for 
learning, in which he was encouraged by his friends. 
In the fall of 1793, he entered Union College, at 
Schenectady, and in due time graduated with honor. 
Directly after his collegiate cause was completed, he 
entered the law office of Peter W. Radcliffe of Pough- 
keepsie, where he remained about two years. He then 
went to the city of New York and completed his law 
studies in the office of Samuel Miles Hopkins. Soon 
after the close of his professional course, he was married 
to Miss Margaret Alexander, a daughter of the Hon. 
Boyd Alexander, M. P. for Glasgow, Scotland. In the 
spring of 1800, Mr. Forman removed to Onondaga 
Hollow, and opened a law office on the east side of the 
creek, where he began early to manifest his public 
spirit and enterprise. At the time he settled at 
Onondaga Hollow, the village was mainly situated on 
the east side of Onondaga Creek, and he, being desirous 
of building up the village and of extending its 
boundaries, soon located his father and his brothers, 
John, Samuel and Daniel W., near the west end of 


the present village, on the north and south road 
passing through the same, and rapidly built up the 
western part. This left a space in the middle, com- 
paratively unoccupied. Here, Judge Forman soon 
after erected a large hotel and afterwards a fine 
residence for himself, which was occupied many 
years after Judge Forman left the Hollow, by his 
brother-in-law, the late William H. Sabin. He was 
also mainly instrumental in procuring the location of 
the academy, church, and two or three stores in the 
same vicinity, before he removed from Onondaga, 
thereby connecting the whole into one tolerably 
compact settlement. 

By his integrity and straightforward course in the 
practice of his profession, he soon became distin- 
guished as a lawyer, and by his talents and gentle- 
manly deportment he became familiarly known 
throughout the country. 

In 1803, William H. Sabin joined him as a partner 
in the practice of law, and for several years they did 
an extensive business. The subject of the Erie canal 
became a theme of deep interest to several of the 
leading men of Onondaga, and to none more so than to 
Judge Forman. Conversations were held by those who 
were friends to the project, and measures were early 
taken to bring the great question before the public. 
Mr. Forman's talents as a public speaker, and as a man 
of influence and character, eminently distinguished 


hiin to be the individual who should be foremost in 
moving in the matter. Accordingly in 1807, a union 
ticket was got up, headed by John McWhorter, 
Democrat ; and Joshua Forman, Federalist. This 
ticket was carried with trifling opposition. It was 
''headed " Canal Ticket," and as such received the 
cordial support of a large majority of the electors of 
Onondaga county. 

As was anticipated by the friends of Judge Forman 
and the great work which he was designated to advo- 
cate, he brought forward the ever memorable resolu- 
tion in the House of Assembly, which alone would 
render his name immortal, directing a survey to be 
made " of the most eligible and direct route of a canal, 
to open a communication between the tide waters of 
the Hudson and Lake Erie." 

Mr. Forman had studied the subject of canals as 
constructed in foreign countries. His mind had been 
applied intently to their construction, utility and cost, 
and these labors had been brought to bear and have 
weight upon the subject now under investigation. He 
had well considered all the advantages that would 
accrue to the United States and the State of New York, 
if this important work should be completed. He had 
prepared an estimate of the cost of construction based 
upon statistics of the Languedoc canal. 

While discussing this subject in Albany, during 
the session, Judge Wright and General McNeill, of 


Oneida, became converts to the plan through the 
instrumentality of Judge Forman ; and Judge Wright 
agreed to second the resolution about to be offered 
whenever it should be brought up. Judge Forman 
had no confidence that the general government would 
assist New York in the construction of a canal, but 
the resolution framed and offered by him was so 
worded as to give President Jefferson an opportunity 
to participate in the measure if he would. Fired with 
the novelty and importance of this project, and some- 
what piqued at the manner of its reception by the 
members of the House, the advocate took pains to 
prepare himself thoroughly upon the subject, and 
when the resolution was called up, he addressed the 
House in a forcible and eloquent speech in its favor. 
Fortunately the resolution was adopted, and for this 
he was for years called a "visionary projector," and 
was asked a hundred times if he ever expected to live 
to see his canal completed ; to which he uniformly 
answered, that "as surely as he lived to the ordinary 
age of man, he did ; that it might take ten years to 
prepare the public mind for the undertaking, and as 
many more to accomplish it, nevertheless it would be 

Had not Joshua Forman brought forward the 
subject as he did, it is not easy to conceive who would 
have had the moral courage to meet the ridicule, of 
proposing in earnest, what was considered so wild a 


measure. Had it not been for this timely movement, 
the subject might have lain idle for years, so far as 
Legislative action was concerned. But by it, the ice 
was broken, and an impetus given to a direct canal, by 
the discoveries made under it, and to Joshua Forman 
must ever be accorded the high consideration, as the 
first legislative projector of the greatest improvement 
of the age. 

During all the times of darkness, discouragement 
and doubt, he boldly stood forth the unflinching 
champion of its feasibility, utility and worth, till the 
day of its completion. 

On the occasion of the grand canal celebration, first 
of November, 1825, Judge Forman was selected by the 
citizens of Onondaga county, and as President of the 
village of Syracuse, to address Governor Clinton and 
suite, on their first passage down the canal accompa- 
nied by various county committees along the line. He 
had but three hours to prepare his address, and it 
thus appears in the Syracuse Gazette of November 2, 
1825 :— 

" Gentlemen : The roar of cannon rolling from Lake 
Erie to the ocean, and reverberated from the ocean to 
the lakes, has announced the completion of the Erie 
Canal, and you are this day witnesses, bearing the 
waters of the lakes on the unbroken bosom of the 
canal, to be mingled with the ocean that the splendid 
hopes of our State are realized. The continued fete 


which has attended your boats, evinces how dear it 
was to the hearts of our citizens. It is truly a proud 
day for the State of New York. No one is present 
who has the interest of the State at heart, who does 
not exult at the completion of a work fraught with such 
important benefits, and no man with an American 
heart, that does not swell with pride that he is a 
citizen of the country which has accomplished the 
greatest work of the age, and which has filled Europe 
with admiration of the American character. 

" On the Fourth of July, 1817, it was begun, and it 
is now accomplished. Not by the labor of abject 
slaves and vassals, but by the energies of freemen, 
and in a period unprecedently short, by the voluntary 
efforts of its freemen, governed by the wisdom of its 
statesmen. This, however, is but one of the many 
benefits derived from our free institutions, and which 
marks a new era in the history of man — the example 
of a nation whose whole physical power and intelli- 
gence are employed to advance the improvement, 
comfort and happiness of the people. To what extent 
this course of improvement may be carried, it is 
impossible for any mere man to conjecture ; but no 
reasonable man can doubt that it will continue its 
progress, until our wide and fertile territory shall be 
filled with a more dense, intelligent and happy people 
than the sun shines upon in the whole circuit of the 
globe. It has long been the subject of fearful appre- 
hension, to the patriots of the Atlantic States, that the 


remote interior situation of our western country (for 
want of proper stimuli to industry and free intercourse 
with the rest of the world) would be filled with a semi- 
barbarous population, uncongenial with their Atlantic 
neighbors. But the introduction of steamboats on our 
lakes and running rivers and canals to connect the 
waters which nature has disjoined, (in both which this 
State has taken the lead, and its example has now 
become general,) have broken down the old barriers of 
nature, and promise the wide-spread regions of the 
west all the blessings of a sea-board district. 

"But while we contemplate the advantages of this 
work, as a source of revenue to the. State, and of 
wealth and comfort to our citizens, let us nevei 1 forget 
the means by which it has been accomplished; and 
after rendering thanks to the All-Wise Dispenser of 
events, who has by his own means and for his own 
purposes brought about this great work, we would 
render our thanks to all citizens and statesmen, who 
have in and out of the Legislature sustained the 
measure from its first conception to its present final 
consummation. To the commissioners who superin- 
tended the work, the board of native engineers, (a 
native treasure unknown till called for by the occa- 
sion,) and especially to his Excellency, the Governor, 
whose early and decided support of the measure, fear- 
lessly throwing his character and influence into the 
scale, turned the poising beam and produced the first 


canal appropriation, and by his talents and exertions 
kept public opinion steady to the point. Without his 
efforts in that crisis, the canal project might still have 
t been a splendid vision — gazed upon by the benevolent 
patriot, but left by cold calumniators to be realized 
by some future generation. At that time, all admitted 
that there was a high responsibility resting on you, 
and had it failed, you must have largely borne the 
blame. It has succeeded, and we will not withhold 
from you your due meed of praise. 

"Gentlemen, in behalf of the citizens of Syracuse, 
and the county of Onondaga, here assembled, I con- 
gratulate you on this occasion. Our village is the 
offspring of the canal, and with the county must 
partake largely of its blessings. We were most un- 
grateful if we did not most cordially join in this great 
State celebration." 

Judge Forman having concluded his address, 
Governor Clinton replied in a very happy and appro- 
priate manner ; in the course of which he adverted 
to the important views presented in the address, and 
observed that they were such as he had expected from 
an individual who had introduced the first legislative 
measures relative to the canals, and had devoted 
much thought and reflection to the subject. His 
Excellency also adverted to the prosperous condition 
of Syracuse, and of the county, and concluded by 
expressing his congratulations on the final accomplish- 
ment of this great work. 


As one of the committee from Syracuse, Judge 
Formau attended the ceremony of mingling the waters 
of Lake Erie with those of the Ocean, off Sandy 
Hook. He had now passed through all the stages in 
the progress of the great work, from its first 
announcement in the legislature to its final consum- 
mation in uniting the waters of Lake Erie with the 
Atlantic Ocean. His efforts in this great undertaking 
will ever be an enduring monument of his wisdom, 
and to future generations will his fame extend. 

It is not to be supposed that Judge Forman had 
employed all his time and talents upon this single 
object. As a lawyer, he became distinguished ; and, 
on account of his integrity and legal acquirements, 
was appointed First Judge of Onondaga County 
Common Pleas in 1813. He filled the station with 
credit and ability for ten years ; in fact, he elevated 
the character of this tribunal to the pitch which gained 
for it the high reputation which it has since enjoyed. 
He took an early and active interest in the estab- 
lishment of churches in this county. "The First 
Onondaga Religious Society," at Onondaga Hill, in 
1806, and the "Onondaga Hollow Religious Society," 
in 1809, owe their early organization mainly to his 
efforts. The Onondaga Academy, founded in 181-4, 
owes its existence to the interest he manifested in the 
cause of education and to his fostering care. He was 
also one of the most active in promoting the organi- 


zation of the First Presbyterian Society in Syracuse, 
in 1824, and was one of its first Trustees. 

In 1807 lie took a lease of the Surveyor-General for 
a term of years, of a part of the reservation lands at 
Oswego Falls, for the purpose of erecting a grist mill 
in that wilderness country, at which time not a house 
was owned by an inhabitant between Salina and 
Oswego. This was the first mill erected on the Oswego 
* river in modern times, and it greatly facilitated the 
settlement of that region. 

In 1808, he founded the celebrated Plaster com- 
pany of Carnillus, for the purpose of more effectually 
working the extensive beds in that town. In 1813, 
Judge Forman built the canal and excavated ground 
for the pond at Onondaga Hollow, where he erected 
a grist mill, which was then considered one of the best 
in the country. 

In 1817, while there was yet a strong opposition to 
the Erie Canal, and its friends were in the greatest 
anxiety, and even doubt as to the final result, 
Judge Forman furnished a series of articles, which 
were published in the Onondaga Register, signed X, 
in defense of the work. These papers were written 
with great ability, and are said by competent judges 
to be inferior to none that had been written upon that 
subj ect. 

In 1821, Judge Forman obtained the passage of a 
law, (drawn by his own hand,) authorizing the lower- 
ing of Onondaga lake, and subsequently the lake was 


lowered about two feet. The great difficulty had been 
caused by the high water in the Seneca river, rising to 
a certain height, which obstructed the channel of the 
Onondaga outlet ; and such was the nature of the 
obstructions, arising from the narrowness and crook- 
edness of the passage, that when the Seneca river 
subsided to its proper limits, the water of Onondaga 
lake was retained, and in rainy seasons did not fall so 
as to make dry ground around it till late in summer, 
which was the cause of much inconvenience to the 
people living in the vicinity of the lake. To obviate 
this, the lake was lowered, and by it the lands around 
Salina and Syracuse were improved, leaving bare a 
beach about the lake, in some places of several rods in 
width. For the cause of philanthrophy and humanity 
this was a most important measure. The country 
around became more healthful, and although previ- 
ously infested with a fatal miasma in August and 
September, from that time to this, the county about 
Syracuse and Salina, has been considered as healthy as 
any other section in the State. 

In 1822, Judge Forman procured the passage of a 
law authorizing the erection of fixtures for the purpose 
of manufacturing coarse salt by solar evaporation, 
with a three-cent per bushel bounty on salt so manu- 
factured, for a given number of years. He went to 
New Bedford in company with Isaiah Townsend, to 
make inquiries relative to solar evaporation of salt 


water, frorn persons interested in this mode of 
manufacturing salt from sea- water on Cape Cod. They 
engaged Stephen Smith to come on to Syracuse with 
them to manage the salt fields, he having had experi- 
ence in this mode of manufacture. Mr. Smith was 
appointed agent of the Onondaga company, and 
Judge Forman of the Syracuse company, and these 
two proceeded to make the necessary erections for the 
manufacture of coarse salt. 

At this time the Salina canal terminated at the 
mill on the southern border of the village of Salina, 
and there was no water to be had, available for 
purposes of carrying machinery in the immediate 
vicinity of the principal salt spring. With a view of 
accomplishing this object, Judge Forman accompanied 
Governor Clinton to Salina, pointed out the ground, 
and proposed to have the Salina canal extended so as 
to communicate with Onondaga lake ; and the follow- 
ing year this plan was carried out, the canal was 
continued to the lake, and arrangements made for the 
erection of pump works. This grand improvement in 
the elevation of brine, was made at the expense of the 
Syracuse and Onondaga Salt companies, under the 
direction of Judge Forman. Afterwards the State 
bought the fixtures, acpieducts, etc., as they had 
reserved the right to do. To no individual so much 
as to Judge Forman are we indebted for a modification 
of our salt laws, and for the substitution of water 


power, for hand labor, in the elevation of brine, for 
the reservoirs, and all the apparatus connected with 
those improvements, and for the introduction of the 
manufacture of coarse salt by solar heat. These were 
measures in which the public were dee{>ly interested, 
which particularly absorbed his attention, and which 
have greatly improved and increased the manufacture 
of salt in the town of Salina. 

Judge Forman was emphatically the founder of the 
city of Syracuse. He came to this place when there 
was but a small clearing south of the canal, and lived 
in a house which stood in the centre of Clinton street ; 
since* removed. When he came to Syracuse, it was 
deemed a doubtful and hazardous enterprise. His 
friends earnestly desired him to withdraw. But at no 
time did his courage, energy or faith fail him. He 
foresaw and insisted that it must eventually become a 
great and flourishing inland town, and in spite of 
much determined opposition, and amidst a variety of 
obstacles and almost every species of embarrassment, 
he persisted in his efforts, till he had laid broad and 
deep the foundations of this nourishing city. 

The most prominent obstacles were found in the 
rival villages in the vicinity, which were likely to be 
affected by the building up of a larger one in their 
midst, and in the extensive swamps and marshes which 
everywhere in this region prevailed, and in the conse- 
quent unhealthiness of the locality. 


His work being accomplished, circumstances re- 
quired his removal from this scene of his usefulness, 
and the theatre of his labors. In 1826, he removed to 
New Jersey, near New Brunswick, where he superin- 
tended the opening and working of a copper mine, 
which had been wrought to some extent prior to and 
during the Revolution. Soon after his departure from 
Syracuse, the State of New York became sadly con- 
vulsed and deranged in its financial affairs. Our 
banking system was extremely defective — reform was 
demanded by an abused and outraged community. All 
saw and admitted the evil, but no one was prepared 
with a remedy. At this crisis, Judge Forman came 
forward with a plan for relief, and upon the invitation 
of Governor VanBuren he visited Albany, and sub- 
mitted his plan to a Committee of the Legislature 
then in session. At the suggestion of the Governor, 
he drew up the bill which subsequently became a law, 
and is known as the Safety Fund Act, the great objects 
of which were, on the one hand, to give currency and 
character to our circulation, and on the other, to 
protect the bill-holder. At the special request of 
Governor Van Buren, Judge Forman spent most of 
the winter in attendance in the Legislature, in perfect- 
ing the details of this important act. 

This plan operated well for many years, and the 
Safety Fund banks of this State sustained themselves 
under some of the severest and heaviest revulsions 


which the nionied institutions of the country have ever 
experienced. And it may be safely affirmed that no 
system in practice on this side the Atlantic has better 
stood the test of experience, or secured so extensively 
the popular confidence as this. The Safety Fund sys- 
tem was exclusively the plan of Judge Forman, and 
although modifications have since been made, and 
others projected, in our banking laws, it may be ques- 
tioned whether the system has been materially im- 

In 1829-30, Judge Forman bought of the govern- 
ment of the State of North Carolina an extensive tract 
of land, consisting of some three hundred thousand 
acres, in Rutherfordton county. He took up his resi- 
dence at the village of Rutherfordton, greatly extended 
its boundaries, established a newspaper press, and was 
considered the most enterprising individual in that 
part of the State; became quite distinguished as a 
public man, and noted for his exertions to elevate the 
character, and improve the mental and moral condi- 
tion of the inhabitants in that region. 

In 1831, after an absence of about five years, Judge 
Forman visited Onondaga. He was everywhere re- 
ceived with unqualified demonstrations of joy and 
respect, and every voice cheered him as the founder 
of a city and a benefactor of mankind. The citizens 
of Syracuse, through their committee appointed for 
that purpose, consisting of Stephen Smith, Harvey 


Baldwin, Amos P. Granger, L. H. Redfield, Henry 
Newton, John Wilkinson and Moses D. Burnet, availed 
themselves of the opportunity to present to him a 
valuable piece of silver plate as a tribute of the high 
respect and esteem which was entertained for his 
talents and character, and in consideration of his 
devotedness to their interests in the early settlement 
of the village. The plate is in the form of a pitcher, 
and bears this inscription: " A tribute of respect, pre- 
sented by the citizens of Syracuse to the Honorable 
Joshua Forman, founder of that village. Syracuse, 

At the ceremony of presenting the plate, mutual 
addresses were delivered; on the one hand, highly 
expressive of the affection and regard of a whole com- 
munity, to a distinguished individual, who had toiled 
and exhausted his more vigorous energies for their 
welfare ; and on the other, the acknowledgment of past 
favors at the hands of his fellow-citizens and coadju- 
tors, thankful that he had been the humble instrument 
of contributing to their prosperity, hoping that the 
bright visions of the future importance of Syracuse, 
which he had so long entertained, might be realized, 
he bade her citizens an affectionate farewell. 

On his return to his home in North Carolina, 
Judge Forman took with him this token of the grati- 
tude of his fellow-citizens, and it remained with him 
till the year 1815, when he presented it to his daughter, 


the lady of General E. W. Leavenworth, of Syracuse, 
then on a visit to her father who was in feeble health, 
remarking, that it constituted a part of the history of 
Syracuse, and that after his death there it should 

While his health permitted, Judge Forman's busi- 
ness was principally that of making sales of the lands 
he had purchased in North Carolina. 

In 1846, this venerable man re-visited his former 
friends and acquaintances of his earlier years, and 
found in each full heart an honest welcome. To all it 
was apparent that the advances of time had made sad 
inroads upon his physical and mental powers. Seventy 
winters had shed their snows upon his devoted head. 
He had heard much of the growth and prosperity of 
his cherished city, and of his beloved Onondaga. He 
had fixed his heart upon again treading the soil of his 
revered county. He had earnestly desired to return 
to the land of his fathers before his course on earth 
should be closed, to witness the result of those won- 
derful improvements in the accomplishment of which 
he had taken so deep an interest and so active a part, 
and to see the fulfillment of those predictions which 
had sometimes acquired for him the name of a vision- 
ary projector and enthusiast, and once again for the 
last time to behold in the body the few surviving 
friends of his earlier years. He could not bid adieu 
to the world in peace, till this last and greatest of his 
earthly wishes should be gratified. 


On this occasion a public dinner was tendered to him 
by P. N. Rust of the Syracuse House. A large num- 
ber of the most distinguished gentlemen of the county 
were present, together with the few gray-headed 
pioneers, who still lingered in the land. Nearly all the 
company were the personal friends of Judge Forman, 
many of them having been sharers or attentive observ- 
ers of his early and patriotic public efforts, for the 
social, mental and moral improvement of this county. 
Few indeed are the instances, where an individual, 
mantled in the hoary locks of age, after an absence of 
twenty years, returns to the scenes of his primitive 
usefulness, with so many demonstrations, on the part 
of friends and former neighbors, of joy and thankful- 
ness, as in the one before us. It was also a season of 
peculiar gratification to him. Here he beheld the 
results of his labors in early active manhood. Here 
he beheld the progress of a thriving town founded by 
his fostering hand. Here he received the warm greet- 
ings of the friends of his early life, and here he met 
with them, to bid them a kind, affectionate and last 

Moses D. Burnet presided on this very interesting 
occasion. A formal address of congratulation, on 
account of the great success of his early labors, and 
the remarkable fulfillment of his hopes and predic- 
tions, was made by the Hon. Harvey Baldwin, which 
was replied to, in behalf of Judge Forman, (he being 


unable to articulate distinctly, on account of a paralitic 
shock,) by his son-in-law, E. W. Leavenworth. 

General Amos P. Granger, Hon. George Gecldes, 
Lewis H. Redfield, and several other gentlemen of 
note, addressed the party in a very felicitous manner. 

The proceedings of this very interesting meeting 
may be found in the Onondaga Democrat of the 3rd 
of October, 184(3, and other city papers of that date. 

From Syracuse, Judge Forman retired to his moun- 
tain home, in the milder climes of the sunny South, 
carrying with him the most vivid recollections of the 
kindness and hospitality of his friends ; looking back 
upon a well spent life, much of which was devoted to 
the service of his country, without regret ; and forward, 
without a fear to the hour when he will be called 
away from the scenes of society and earth. 

Judge Forman is still living, (1849,) at his home in 
North Carolina, having bid adieu to the cares and 
business occupations of life. 

The character of this distinguished man may be 
summed up in a very few words. His mind was of no 
ordinary cast, and whether we view him as a fellow- 
citizen, a neighbor, a legislator, a jurist, a judge, or as 
a man, we find nothing that we cannot respect and 
admire. Full of life and energy himself, he infused 
with uncommon facility the same spirit into others, 
and wherever he was found, in him was the master 
spirit of every plan. He possessed a mind of uncom- 


mon activity, never wearying with the multiplicity of 
his labors and cares; it was stored with an unusual 
variety of knowledge, extending far beyond the 
boundaries of his professional pursuits, and he pos- 
sessed a rare felicity in the communication of this 
knowledge to others. This fund of solid and general 
information, upon every variety of topic, and his 
forcible and happy manner of communication, joined 
with the most social and cheerful disposition, rendered 
him on all occasions a most agreeable and interesting- 
gentleman in conversation, and the delight of every 
circle in which he moved. He greatly excelled in the 
clear perceptions of the results of proposed measures 
of public improvement, and in a capacity to present 
them forcibly to others, carrying along with him 
individuals, communities and public assemblies, by 
his easy flowing language, and a manner at once most 
clear, captivating and persuasive. His whole life was 
characterized by the most public spirited efforts for 
the general good, and the most disinterested benevo- 
lence, — always comparatively forgetful of his own 
private interest, in his zeal for the accomplishment of 
works of public utility. Through the long period of 
his stirring and eventful life, he sustained a character 
without stain and without reproach, and now standing 
on the borders of the grave, is most justly entitled to 
the admiration and gratitude of his countrymen. 
It was the happiness of the author, in his youthful 


days, to spend several months in the family of Judge 
Forman, at Onondaga Hollow, and he takes pleasure 
in this opportunity of testifying to his domestic virtues 
and private worth. 

[The remains of Joshua Forman were removed 
from Rutherfordton, North Carolina, and placed in 
Oakwood cemetery in Syracuse. The records kept at 
this cemetery show that these remains were placed in 
the lot of General Elias W. Leavenworth, May — 1875. 
General Leavenworth's first wife was Miss Mary E. 
Forman, daughter of Judge Forman. This lot is a 
beautiful one, finely located, and the grave is marked 
by a handsome marble slab. On the monument, about 
which there is a stone canopy, there is written this 
inscription : " Joshua Forman. Founder of the city 
of Syracuse, Author of the Safety Fund Banking law 
of this State, the first person who offered a resolution 
in the Legislature and procured an appropriation for 
the construction of the Erie canal. He was born at 
Pleasant Valley, in the county of Duchess, N. Y., on 
the 6th day of September, 1777, and died at Ruther- 
fordton, N. C, on the -1th day of August, 18-10."] 



The legend of Hiawatha, which gives the traditional 
account of the confederacy of the Iroquois Indians, 
the most powerful of all the Indian nations in the 
United States, has become of great importance, 
especially to the citizens of Syracuse and Onondaga 
county, where the legend originated, because Long- 
fellow has immortalized it in his beautiful " Song of 
Hiawatha." Longfellow gave credit to Mr. School- 
craft for this Indian tradition; and he adds: "The 
scene of the poem is among the Ojibways on the 
southern shore of Lake Superior, in the region between 
the Pictured Rocks and the Grand Sable." Of course, 
Longfellow, as a poet, could locate the scene of his 
poem wherever his fancy lead him ; but Schoolcraft, 
as an historian, properly located the scene on the 
banks of Onondaga lake. Schoolcraft called his 
legend: "Hiawatha, or the Origin of the Onondaga 
Council-Fire, an Iroquois Tradition ; " and he states 
that his information was " derived from the verbal 



narrations of the late Abraham LeFort, an Onondaga 
Chief, who was a graduate, it is believed, of Geneva 

The Rev. William M. Beauchamp of Baldwinsville, 
New York, justly regarded as good authority on the 
history of the Iroquois Indians, in an article published 
in the Journal of American Folk- Lore, in 1891, says: 
" In any form the tale has been known to the whites 
less than fifty years, and the Onondaga version first 
had publicity through Mr. J. V. H. Clark, in a 
communication to the New York Commercial Adver- 
tiser. He obtained it from two Onondaga chiefs. 
Schoolcraft used these notes before they were included 
in Clark's history, and afterwards appropriated the 
name for his Western Indian legends, where it had no 
proper place. About the same, time Mr. Alfred B. 
Street had a few original notes from other Iroquois 
sources which he used in his metrical romance of 
" Frontenac," along with some from Schoolcraft. 
Thus, when Longfellow's "Hiawatha" appeared, I 
was prepared to greet an old friend, and surprised at 
being introduced to an Ojibway instead of an Iroquois 
leader. The change, however, gave a broader field 
for his beautiful poem, a gain to all readers, but as he 
retained little beyond the name it may be needless to 
refer to that charming work. 

"Viewed philosophically, all the legends of 
Hiawatha may have been useful to the Iroquois, as 


harmonizing with, and strengthening the best features 
of their character in recent days. As a divine man, 
coming to earth expressly to relieve human distress, 
he presented a strong contrast to Agreskoue, in honor 
of whom they feasted on human flesh, when first 
known to the whites. Had such a tradition existed, 
however, when the French missionaries entered their 
land, it would have been produced to show that their 
teaching was nothing new. As a mere man, suffering 
injuries patiently, steadily keeping in view one great 
and beneficient purpose, not only forgiving but 
bringing to high honor the man who had injured him 
most, he also taught an important lesson, but this 
was learned from no Indian sage. This ideal came 
from those white men who spoke of a better life." 

From " Clark's Onondaga," it is learned that these 
distinguished Indian nations were called by the French 
" Iroquois," by the English " The Confederates " or 
"Five Nations," by the Dutch "Maquas," and by 
themselves "Mingoes;" meaning by all "United 
People." Their territory proper, extended from 
Hudson's river on the east to the Niagara on the 
west ; from lake Ontario on the north to the Allegha- 
nies on the south. When it was that these five Indian 
nations, composed of the Mohawks, Oneidas, Onon- 
dagas, Cayugas and Senecas, formed their famous 
confederacy is a matter of conjecture. The Onondagas 
were considered the third nation. They became, from 


their central position and numbers, their strength of 
mind, skill in diplomacy and warlike bearing, the head 
or leading nation of the confederates. The grand 
council-fire of the union was usually kept with them. 
They kept the key of the great council house of the 
Five Nations; the Mohawks holding the door on the 
east, as did the Senecas on the west. No business of 
importance, touching the interests of the Five Nations, 
was transacted elsewhere but at Onondaga. This 
nation is divided into eight several tribes or clans, 
called by themselves, the Wolf, the Bear, the Beaver 
and the Tortoise. These are called superior clans, and 
from these may be selected the chiefs of the nation. 
The inferior clans are the Deer, the Eagle, the Heron 
and the Eel; from which civil chiefs may not be 
elected. Individuals belonging to these latter clans 
are not considered eligible to office. Though there 
formerly were instances where, by great individual 
merit as warriors, they have occasionally been selected 
as war chiefs; considered the lowest class of officers 
known to their laws. Among the Onondagas the line 
of descent is emphatically in the female branch of the 
family. The inference to be drawn from this is that 
the son is certainly derived from the mother, but may 
not be from whom he acknowledges as father. 

In referring to the Iroquois confederacy, Mr. 
Beauchamp says : " The true date was probably about 
A. D. 1G00." The account of this Hiawatha legend. 


as given by Joshua V. H. Clark, in "Clark's Onon- 
daga " is as follows : — 

At what period or for what purpose this league was 
originally formed, is a matter wholly speculative, as 
the records of history and Indian tradition are alike 
uncertain, and throw but feeble light upon the sub- 
ject. It is supposed, however, that anciently they 
were separate and independent nations; and probably 
warred with an equal relish upon each other as upon 
their neighbors, and perhaps finally united themselves 
for purposes of greater strength and security, thereby 
enlarging their power and importance at home, 
enabling them to prosecute more vigorously their 
conquests abroad. Common danger or a desire for 
conquest were the motives, rather than a far-seeing 
policy, which must have actuated these people to form 
a league of consolidation. 

By some authors, the time of the formation of the 
great league of confederation was about the life of one 
man before the Dutch landed at New York. By 
others, about an hundred years before that period. 
Webster, the Onondaga interpreter, and good author- 
ity, states it at about two generations before the white 
people came to trade with the Indians. But from the 
permanency of their institutions, the peculiar struc- 
ture of their government, the intricacy of their civil 
affairs, the stability of their religious beliefs and the 
uniformity of their pagan ceremonies, differing from 


from the circumstance here related — ' I see everywhere 
and see nothing.' From this our English name for 
the river Oswego is derived."] 

During the observations of the spirit man, (for so 
he was afterwards called,) the two men who had lain 
concealed, cautiously watching all his movements, 
discovered themselves. Ta-oun-ya-wat-ha very civilly 
approached them, and after the greetings usual at the 
first meeting of strangers, very gravely made inquiries 
of them respecting their country and its advantages, 
of their fisheries and hunting grounds, and of the 
impediments in the way of the prosperity of the nations 
round about. To all of which the hunters, (for so 
they were,) could give no very favorable answers, but 
briefly stated to him the disadvantages they had ever 
been doomed to labor under, and the sufferings they 
had borne in consequence. 

A degree of familiarity and mutual confidence had 
by this time become awakened in the bosoms of the 
parties, and the greatest freedom of conversation 
proceeded without restraint. The hunters provided 
for their venerable guest a repast of roast venison, who 
received it in thankfulness ; they smoked the calumet 
together and were refreshed. 

Ta-oun-ya-wat-ha disclosed to the hunters the spir- 
ituality of his character and the object of his mission, 
after which he invited them to proceed with him up 
the river, as lie had important business to transact, 


and should need their services. After a moment's 
consultation together, the hunters consented to accom- 
pany him, and forthwith joyfully attended him to his 

Of the events which immediately succeeded, we 
have not now time or disposition to speak, only that 
many of them were truly marvelous, and worthy a 
place only in the pages of Indian Mythology. 

From this, Ta-oun-ya-wat-ha ascended all the 
lesser lakes and explored their shores, placing all 
things in proper order, for the comfort and sustenance 
of all good men. He had taught the people of the 
various tribes the art of raising corn and beans, which 
had not before been cultivated among them. He also 
encouraged them to a more faithful observance of the 
laws of the Great and Good Spirit. He had made the 
fishing grounds free, and opened to all the uninter- 
rupted pursuit of game. He had distributed liberally 
among mankind the fruits of the earth, and had 
removed all obstructions from the navigable streams. 

Pleased with the success of his undertakings, the 
spirit-man now resolved to lay aside his divine char- 
acter, and in after years to make his abode among the 
children of men. He accordingly selected for his 
residence a beautiful spot on the shore of the Cross 
Lake, (Te-ungk-too, as called by the natives). [Lo- 
cated near 'Jordan.] After awhile he totally relin- 
quished his divine title of Ta-oun-ya-wat-ha, and in 


all respects assumed the character and habits of a man. 
Nevertheless, he was always looked up to as an extra 
ordinary individual, as one possessing transcendent 
powers of mind and consummate wisdom. The name 
Hi-a-wat-ha (signifying very wise man), was spon- 
taneously awarded him, by the whole mass of people, 
who now resorted to him from all quarters for advice 
and instruction. The companions of the spirit-man, 
at a subsequent council, were rewarded by a seat in 
the councils of their countrymen, and became emin- 
ently distinguished for their prowess in war and 
dignified bearing in the council room. 

After a quiet residence of a few years at his new 
location, the country became greatly alarmed by the 
sudden approach of a ferocious band of warriors from 
north of the great lakes. As they advanced, indis- 
criminate slaughter was made of men, women and 
children. Many had been slain, and ultimate destruc- 
tion seemed to be the consequence, either of bold 
resistance, or of a quiet relinquishment of absolute 

During this signal agitation of the public mind, 
people from all quarters thronged the dwelling place 
of Hi-a-wat-ha for advice in this trying emergency. 
After a deep and thoughtful contemplation of the 
momentous subject, he informed the principal chiefs 
that his opinion was to call a grand council of all the 
tribes that could be gathered from the east and from 


the west, that the advice of all might be received; 
"for," said he, "our safety is in good council and 
speedy, energetic action." Accordingly, runners were 
dispatched in all directions, notifying the head men of 
a grand council to be held on the banks of the lake 
Oh-nen-ta-ha. [Onondaga lake.] 

This council was supposed to have been held on 
the high ground where the village of Liverpool now 
stands. In due time the chiefs and warriors from far 
and near were assembled with great numbers of men, 
women and children to hold this important council, 
and to devise means for the general safety. All the 
principal men had arrived, except the venerable 

The council-fire had been kindled three days, and 
he had not yet arrived. Messengers were dispatched, 
who found him in a most melancholy state of mind. 
He told them that evil lay in his path ; that he had a 
fearful foreboding of ill-fortune, and that he had 
concluded not to attend the great council at Oh-nen- 
ta-ha. ' ' But, " said the messengers, ' ' we have delayed 
the deliberations of the grand council on account of 
your absence, and the chiefs have resolved not to 
proceed to business until your arrival." 

The White Canoe had always been held as a sacred 
treasure, and, next to the wise man himself, was 
regarded with awe and reverence. It had been 
deposited in a lodge, erected especially for its security, 


to which none but the niost worthy and noted of the 
chieftains could nave access. Hither on this occasion 
Hi-a-wat-ha repaired, and, in the most devout and 
humiliating manner, poured out his soul in silence to 
the Great Spirit. After a protracted absence he 
returned with a countenance beaming with confidence 
and hope. Being over-persuaded by his friends, he 
reluctantly yielded to their earnest solicitations. The 
White Canoe was carefully removed from its sacred 
resting place, and reverently launched upon the bosom 
of the river. The wise man once again took his 
accustomed seat, and bade his darling and only 
daughter (a girl of some twelve years of age) to 
accompany him. She unhesitatingly obeyed, took her 
place beside her venerable parent in the devoted vessel, 
and directly they made all possible speed to the grand 
council ground. 

On the approach of the aged and venerable 
Hi-a-wat-ha, a general shout of joy resounded through- 
out the assembled host, and every demonstration of 
respect was paid to this illustrious sage and counsellor. 
As he landed and was passing up the steep bank 
towards the council ground, a loud sound was heard 
like a rushing and mighty wind. All eyes were 
instantly turned upwards, and a dark spot was dis- 
covered rapidly descending from on high among the 
clouds. It grew largerand larger as itneared the earth, 
and was descending with fearful velocity into their very 


midst. Terror and alarrn seized every breast, and 
every individual seemed anxious only for his own 
safety. The utmost confusion prevailed throughout 
the assembled multitude, and all but the venerable 
Hi-a-wat-ha sought safety by flight. He gravely 
uncovered his silvered head, and besought his daughter 
to await the approaching danger with becoming resig- 
nation ; at the same time reminding her of the great 
folly and impropriety of attempting to obstruct or 
prevent the designs or wishes of the Great Spirit. 
" If," said he, "he has determined our destruction, 
we shall not escape by removal, nor evade his 
decrees. " She modestly acquiesced in her kind parent's 
suggestions and advice, and with the most patient 
submission waited the coming event. 

All this was but the work of an instant ; for no sooner 
had the resolution of the wise man become fixed, and 
his last words uttered, than an immense bird, with a 
long and pointed beak, with wide-extended wings, 
came down with a mighty swoop, and crushed the 
beautiful girl to the earth. With such force did the 
monster fall, and so great was the commotion of the 
air that when it struck the ground, the whole assembly 
were forced violently back several rods, Hi-a-wat-ha 
alone remained unmoved and silently witnessed the 
melancholy catastrophe of his child's dissolution. 

His darling daughter had been killed before his 
eyes in a marvelous manner, and her destroyer had 


perished with her. The dismayed warriors cautiously 
advanced to the spot and calmly surveyed the dismal 
scene. It was found upon examination that the 
animal, in its descent, had completely buried its beak, 
head and neck up to its body in the ground. It was 
covered with a beautiful plumage of snowy white, and 
every warrior, as he advanced, plucked a plume from 
this singular bird, with which he adorned his crown ; 
and from this incident, the braves of the confederate 
nations forever after made choice of the plumes of the 
white heron as their most appropriate military orna- 
ment while upon the war-path. 

Upon the removal of the carcass of the monster, 
the body of the innocent girl was found to be com- 
pletely ground to atoms. Nothing could be seen of 
her that would indicate she had ever been a human 
being. At this appearance, the bereaved and discon- 
solate parent gave himself up to the most poignant 
sorrow. Hollow moans and distressing grief told too 
plainly the bitterness of his heart. He spurned all 
proffers of consolation, and yielded to the keenest 
feelings of anguish and unbounded sorrow. 

He became an object of perfect despair, and threw 
himself down upon his face to the earth, dejected and 
disconsolate. The shattered fragments of the innocent 
girl were carefully gathered together, and interred in 
all the tenderness and solemnity of bitter grief. Every- 
one seemed to participate in the afllictioiis of the aged 


and venerable counsellor, and to sympathize in his suf- 
ferings and woe. Still, no comfort came to his soul. 
He remained in this prostrate situation three whole 
days and nights unmoved. The fears of the assembled 
chiefs were awakened lest he might become a willing 
victim to his own melancholy and misfortune. 

Nothing had been done as yet in the council, and 
such had been the causes of delay that many began to 
despair of accomplishing anything of consequence. 
Some even thought seriously of returning to their 
homes without an effort. At length a few of the 
leading chiefs consulted together, as to what course it 
was most expedient to pursue. It was at once resolved 
that nothing should be attempted without the voice 
of the wise man should be heard. A suitable person 
was thereupon dispatched to ascertain whether he 
breathed. Report came that he was yet alive. A 
kind-hearted, merry chief, named Ho-see-noke, was 
directed by the council to make to the prostrate 
mourner a comforting speech, to whisper kind words 
in his ear, and if possible arouse him from his reverie. 

After a deal of formal ceremony and persuasion, 
he gradually recovered from his stupor, and conversed. 
After several messages had passed between the assem- 
bled chiefs and Hi-a-wat-ha, he arose and manifested 
a desire for food. He ate and drank of such as was 
hastily prepared for him, and acknowledged himself 
strengthened and refreshed. 


He was conducted to the presence of the council, 
a conspicuous place was assigned him, and all eyes 
were turned towards the only man who could with 
precision foretell their future destiny. The subject 
of the invasion was discussed by several of the ablest 
counsellors and boldest warriors. Various schemes 
were proposed for the repulsion of the enemy. 
Hi-a-wat-ha listened in silence till the speeches of all 
were concluded. His opinion was gravely an'd 
earnestly sought by many of the surrounding chiefs. 

After a brief reference to the calamity which had 
so recently befallen him, the wise man said: " This is 
a subject that requires mature reflection and deliber- 
ation. It is not fitting that one of so much importance 
should be treated lightly ; or that our decision should 
be hasty and inconsiderate. Let us postpone our 
deliberations for one day, that we may weigh well the 
words of the wise chiefs and warriors who have 
spoken. Then I will communicate to you my plan 
for consideration. It is one which I am confident will 
succeed, and ensure our safety." 

After another day's delay, the council again 
assembled and all were anxious to hear the words of 
Hi-a-wat-ha. A breathless silence ensued, and the 
venerable counsellor began: 

"Friends and brothers: — You are members of 
many tribes and nations. You have come here, many 
of you, a great distance from your homes. We have 


convened for one common purpose, to promote one 
common interest; and that is to provide for our 
mutual safety and how it shall best be accomplished. 
To oppose these hordes of northern foes by tribes, 
singly and alone, would prove our certain destruction ; 
we can make no progress in that way ; we must unite 
ourselves into one common band of brothers. Our 
warriors united, would surely repel these rude invaders 
and drive them from our borders. This must be done, 
and we shall be safe. 

' ' You — the Mohawks, sitting under the shadow of 
the ' Great Tree, ' whose roots sink deep into the earth 
and whose branches spread over a vast country, shall 
be the first nation; because you are warlike and 

"And you — Oneidas, a people who recline your 
bodies against the ' Everlasting Stone ' that cannot be 
moved, shall be the second nation ; because you give 
wise counsel. 

' ' And you — Onondagas, who have your habitation 
at the ' Great Mountain' and are overshadowed by its 
crags, shall be the third nation; because you are 
greatly gifted in speech and mighty in war. 

" And you — Cayugas, a people whose habitation is 
the ' Dark Forest ' and whose home is everywhere, 
shall be the fourth nation ; because of your superior 
cunning in hunting. 

" And you — Senecas, a people who live in the ' Open 


Country ' and possess much wisdom, shall be the fifth 
nation; because you understand better the art of rais- 
ing corn and beans, and making cabins. 

"You, five great and powerful nations, must unite 
and have but one common interest, and no foe shall 
be able to disturb or subdue you. 

"And you — Manhattoes, Nyacks, Montauks and 
others, who are as the feeble 'Bushes'; and you, Nar- 
agansetts, Mohegans, Wampanoags and your neigh- 
bors who are a ' Fishing People,' may place yourselves 
under our protection. Be with us, and we will defend 
you. You of the South, and you of the West, may 
do the same, and we will protect you. We earnestly 
desire your alliance and friendship. 

"Brothers — If we unite in this bond, the Great 
Spirit will smile upon us, and we shall be free, pros- 
perous and happy. But if we remain as we are, we 
shall be subject to his frown; we shall be enslaved, 
ruined, perhaps annihilated forever. We shall perish 
and our names be blotted out from among the nations 
of men. Brothers : these are the words of Hi-a-wat-ha 
— let them sink deep into your hearts — I have said it." 

A long silence ensued ; the words of the wise man 
had made a deep impression upon the minds of all. 
They unanimously declared the subject too weighty 
for immediate decision. "Let us," said the brave 
warriors and chiefs, "adjourn the council for one day, 
and then we will respond." On the morrow, the 


council again assembled. After due deliberation, the 
speech of the wise man was declared to be good and 
worthy of adoption. 

Immediately upon this was formed the celebrated 
Aquinuschioni or Amphyctionic league of the great 
confederacy of Five Nations, which to this day re- 
mains in full force. 

After the business of the great council had been 
brought to a close, and the assembly were on the eve 
of separation, Hi-a-wat-ha arose in a dignified manner, 
and said : 

" Friends and Brothers : I have now fulfilled my 
mission upon earth ; I have done everything which can 
be done at present for the good of this great people. 
Age, infirmity and distress sit heavy upon me. During 
my sojourn with you, I have removed all obstructions 
from the streams. Canoes can now pass safely every- 
where. I have given you good fishing waters and 
good hunting grounds. I have taught you the manner 
of cultivating corn and beans, and learned you the art 
of making cabins. Many other blessings I have liber- 
ally bestowed upon you. 

" Lastly, I have now assisted you to form an ever- 
lasting league and covenant of strength and friendship 
for your future safety and protection. If you preserve 
it, without the admission of other people, you will 
always be free, numerous and mighty. If other 
nations are admitted to your councils, they will sow 


jealousies among you, and you will become enslaved, 
few and feeble. Remember these words ; they are the 
last you will hear from the lips of Hi-a-wat-ha. Listen 
my friends; the Great-Master-of-Breath calls me to 
go. I have patiently waited his summons. I am 
ready; farewell." 

As the wise man closed his speech, there burst 
upon the ears of the assembled multitude the cheerful 
sounds of myriads of the most delightful singing 
voices. The whole sky seemed filled with the sweetest 
melody of celestial music; and Heaven's high arch 
echoed and re-echoed the touching strains, till the 
whole vast assembly were completely absorbed in 
rapturous ecstacy. Amidst the general confusion which 
now prevailed, and while all eyes were turned towards 
the etherial regions, Hi-a-wat-ha was seen majestically 
seated in his white canoe, gracefully rising higher and 
higher above their heads through the air, until he 
became entirely lost from the view of the assembled 
throngs, who witnessed his wonderful ascent in mute 
and admiring astonishment — while the fascinating 
music gradually became more plaintive and low; and 
finally, it sweetly expired in the softest tones upon 
their ears, as the wise man Hi-a-wat-ha, and the god- 
like Ta-oun-ya-wat-ha retired from their sight, and 
quietly entered the mysterious regions inhabited only 
by the favorites of the Great and Good Spirit Ha- 


[Mr. Clark adds in a foot note : " The substance of 
the foregoing tradition may be found in the ' Notes 
on the Iroquois,' pp. 271 to 283. It is but simple 
justice to the author of this work to say that the 
article in the ' Notes ' was framed from a MS. fur- 
nished by the author of this to the Editor of the 
Commercial Advertiser of New York, for publication 
in that paper."] 

Such is the traditionary account of the Onondagas 
of the origin of the very ancient and honorable league 
first formed by the illustrious Five Nations, given to 
the author by the late Captain Frost and La Fort, 
head chiefs of the Onondagas, 6th February, 1845. 

This tradition, like all others, proves nothing posi- 
tively, further than that the Iroquois themselves 
know little of their own origin, history, or the 
antiquity of their most prominent characteristics and 
institutions. These being orally transmitted from 
generation to generation, and their minds ever deeply 
imbued with superstition, events are magnified to 
miracles, distinguished men are deified, and every 
circumstance of note is mystified and mingled with 
ignorance, barbarism and extravagance. 

Longfellow's beautiful poem, "The Song of 
Hiawatha," was published in November, 1855. It 
attracted great attention, receiving unbounded praise 
and severe criticism. The New York Tribune of 
November 27, 1855, contained a criticism from T. C. 


P., of Pennsylvania, copied from the National Intel- 
lit l< ncer of the preceding day, which called the 
reader's attention to the "Kalewala," the great 
national epic of the Finns. The critic added: "My 
object in writing this present brief notice is to call 
the attention of the literary public to the astounding 
fact that Professor Longfellow, in his new poem, 
" Hiawatha," has transferred the entire form, spirit, 
and many of the most striking incidents of the old 
Finnish epic to the North American Indians. The 
resemblance is so close that it cannot be accidental, 
and yet the only approach to an acknowledgment 
of the source of his inspiration is found in the begin- 
ning of his first note, where he says: 'This Indian 
Edcla, if I may so call it/" 

Mr. Schoolcraft hastened to the defense of Long- 
fellow's Hiawatha, and his letter to the National 
Intelligencer, dated Washington, D. C, December 7, 
1855, was reproduced in the New York Tribune of 
December 18, 1855. Mr. Schoolcraft said: "Every 
author is responsible for what he utters. This truth 
is particularly apposite at this moment in relation to 
the Indian oral legends heretofore published by me, 
which have recently been quoted by a distinguished 
writer. The appearance of a popular American 
poem, on American materials, is suited to arouse 
literary excitement from the banks of the Aroostook 
to the Rio Grande. Not believing that anything at 


all is necessary to vindicate Professor Longfellow's 
literary integrity in quoting my Indian legends, any 
more than the taste, talent and judgment displayed in 
his beautiful, characteristic and truly American 
poem of Hiawatha, there is yet something due 
from me on the subject from the citations of my 
' Algic Researches, ' and of the third volume of my 
Indian History. No allusion is made to the critical 
acumen to which the poem has given birth in the 
press. The reference is exclusively to the originality 
of the legends quoted by the author of 'Hiawatha,' 
and to their veraciousness to the traditions of the 
native lore, which I have reported from the North 
American wigwams." 

The cool, confident manner in which Mr. School- 
craft, who was then Agent of the Statistics, etc., of 
the Indian tribes of the United States, under the 
Department of the Interior at Washington, appro- 
priated to himself the credit of being the first to give 
an account of the legend of Hiawatha, aroused Mr. 
Clark from his generally mild disposition and caused 
him to assert his claims to this legend and to bring 
Mr. Schoolcraft before the bar of public opinion. 

Under date of January 10, 1856, Mr. Clark wrote 
the following letter to the New York Tribune : — 

"The Song of Hiawatha" has become the. subject 
of much extravagant praise, and a theme for the 
severest criticism. Animadversion has had the effect 


to awaken a curiosity, and create an excitement that 
otherwise would have remained dormant; and the 
" Song " has been read by thousands who, but for this 
pen-and-ink warfare, would never have looked upon 
its pages. By this time it has been dispatched by the 
whole reading public, and it has afforded nearly as 
much gratification to its traducers as to its admirers. 

The legend of Hiawatha was first related to the 
writer of this by the Onondaga chiefs, Captain Frost 
(Ossahinta), and Abram LaFort (Dehatkatons), in the 
summer of 1843. During the winter of lS43-'44, I 
wrote it out in full, and read the paper before the 
members of the Manlius Lyceum, and in the month of 
March following I repeated the same before a literary 
association at the village of Fayetteville, having at 
that time not the remotest idea of ever publishing 
anything in a permanent form relative to the Onon- 
daga Indians. 

In March, 1844, I furnished to the New York 
Historical Society a paper giving the Indian names to 
localities in Onondaga county and vicinity, at the 
suggestion of a committee which had been appointed 
by the Society to secure so desirable an object. Mr. 
Henry R. Schoolcraft, as chairman of the committee, 
by letter dated March L2, 1844, acknowledged the 
receipt of my communication, with the thanks of the 
committee, saying further: "Permit us to ask a 
continuance of your researches so far as relates to the 


Onondaga tribe," etc. In my communication to the 
committee I intimated that I had in my possession 
tales and traditions illustrative of Indian character 
and history. In a postscript to the letter above referred 
to, Mr. Schoolcraft adds : ' ' As I am collecting the 
traditions of the Indians, imaginative as well as his- 
torical, I should be gratified for any contributions you 
may make in this way ; send me a copy of the tradition 
of 'Green Pond.'" Upon this I sent him a copy of 
the tradition requested, it having been previously 
published by me in the New York Commercial Adver- 
tiser, at the instance of my friend, the late Col. 
William L. Stone, as other pieces of like character 
furnished by me had been before. In a letter from 
Mr. Schoolcraft, dated April 19, 1844, in answer to 
one from me a short time previous, he further says : 
" This letter shows you to be too much at home on the 
subject of Aboriginal names to allow us to think of 
excusing you from further services of this kind." 

In 1845, Mr. Schoolcraft, under the authority and 
patronage of the State, visited the several tribes of 
Indians in Western New York for the purpose of ascer- 
taining their true condition as to property, schools, 
resources, manner of living, etc., or in other words, to 
take a complete census as far as possible of these 
people, and furnish a series of statistics necessary to 
form full and comprehensive data, respecting their 
circumstances, wants and requirements, as well as 


their advancement in the arts, agriculture and civiza- 
tion; and if possible to recover from obscurity- 
somewhat of their mysterious history. On that tour 
Mr. Schoolcraft, on various occasions, by letters now 
in my possession, solicited information from me. (See 
also "Notes on the Iroquois," pp. 192, 4G8.) In a 
letter under date of July 24, 1845, after his visit to 
Onondaga, he says: "I should feel under many 
obligations to you if you would give me some account 
from personal observation of the vestiges of ancient 
occupancy in your vicinity," and afterward adds, "I 
know of no one who is so well qualified to give it as 

Now it is a well-known fact that persons acting in 
the capacity of official agents among the Indians are 
always looked upon by them with suspicion and 
distrust. Mr. Schoolcraft most emphatically asserts 
as much when he says: " The census movement was 
consequently the theme of no small number of sus- 
picions and cavils and objections. Without any certain 
or generally fixed grounds of objection, it was yet the 
object of a fixed but changing opposition." (See 
"Notes on the Iroquois," pp. 5, 6.) Mr. Schoolcraft 
was looked upon with suspicion by the Onondaga 
Indians, and by none more so than by Captain Frost 
and Abram La Fort, principal chiefs of the Onondaga 
Nation. Hence it became essential to the advancement 
of his labors that some one more in the confidence of 


the Indians should act in concert with the State Agent, 
in order effectually to secure the whole information 
desired. Besides, he remarks that "far more time 
than was at my command would be required to 
cultivate this attractive field of research." (See 
" Notes on the Iroquois," p. 192.) 

By a reference to the "Notes on the Iroquois," 
anyone may see at a glance that many items received 
from me which he considered of value in his researches 
were adopted. in his official report made to the Legis- 
lature, and which were retained in his subsequent 
"Notes on the Iroquois," which were considerably 
enlarged and improved, though embracing nearly all 
of the report. For many of these items the customary 
acknowledgments were made ; for others no sign of 
recognition was given. The tradition of Hiawatha, 
which he had previously received from me through 
the editor of the Commercial Advertiser, in manu- 
script form, was among this latter number, and it is 
inserted as if gleaned by his own laborious research. 

Mr. Schoolcraft's report on the subject of the New 
York Indians was made to the Legislature in 1846. 
His enlarged and improved version, the " Notes on 
the Iroquois," was published in 1817. During the 
years 1816-17 and '18, a train of accidental, though 
urgent circumstances, was thrown around me which 
eventuated in my bringing out a history of " Onon- 
daga " from materials already in my possession, with 


the addition of contributions from sundry individuals 
throughout the country. My "Onondaga" was 
published in 1849, and my version of the tradition of 
Hiawatha is there inserted in volume I. at page 21. 
At page 30 is the following note : 

' ' The substance of the foregoing tradition may be 
found in the ' Notes on the Iroquois,' pp. 271 to 283. 
It is but simple justice to the author of this work to 
say that the article in the ' Notes ' was framed from 
a manuscript furnished by the author of this to the 
editor of the New York Commercial Advertiser, for 
publication in that paper." 

I have been thus minute in the foregoing remarks 
in order to show substantially the relation that existed 
between Mr. Schoolcraft and myself relative to Indian 
affairs during his researches among the Indians of 
Western New York in the years 1844-4:5 and '46, and 
to show that I had some knowledge of the tradition of 
Hiawatha long before Mr. Schoolcraft's visit of 
inspection among the New York Indians in 1845. 

What I am about to say would not at this late day 
be said were it not for the fact that the tradition of 
Hiawatha, (notwithstanding the note in Clark's 
" Onondaga," vol. I. at page 30,) has been transferred 
from the " Notes on the Iroquois " to Mr. Schoolcraft's 
larger work entitled, "History, Condition and Pros- 
pects of the Indian Tribes in the United States," 
published in 1853, (see page 314, third part,) and is 


there entitled, "Hiawatha, or the Origin of the 
Onondaga Council-Fire," at which place is appended 
the following note: " Derived from the verbal narra- 
tions of the late Abraham Le Fort, an Onondaga 
Chief, who was a graduate, it is believed, of Geneva 
college ; " and because the substance of Mr. School- 
craft's note is reiterated in a note at the end of Mr. 
Longfellow's poem, " The Song of Hiawatha," at page 
299; and because, in a letter dated, Washington, 
December 7, 1855, "To the Editor of The National 
Intelligencer" copied in the Tribune of December 18, 
Mr. Schoolcraft says: "Every author is responsible 
for what he utters," and again: "The reference is 
exclusively to the originality of the legends quoted by 
the author of Hiawatha." 

Now, if Mr. Schoolcraft means (as the books 
declare) that he had the Onondaga tradition of 
Hiawatha, as it is related in his "Notes on the 
Iroquois," and as it is transferred to his larger work, 
" History, Condition and Prospects of the Indian 
Tribes in the United States," "derived from the verbal 
narrations of the late Abraham Le Fort, an Onondaga 
Chief, who was a graduate, it is believed, of Geneva 
college," then I say, unequivocally, that he is most 
egregiously mistaken, and asserts what, upon reflec- 
tion, he would be unwilling to repeat. 

It was on the fourteenth day of August, 1845, at 
my room in the hotel at the village of Aurora, Cayuga 


county, on a certain occasion when Mr. Schoolcraft 
delivered an address before the G. 0. I., and after he 
had visited Onondaga, that I gave him several items 
of information, some verbal, some written, and some 
printed from the Commercial Advertiser. I then and 
there referred him to the legend of ' ' The Wise Man 
Hiawatha, or the White Canoe," the manuscript of 
which had a short time previously been sent by me 
to the Commercial Advertiser for publication. 

I am quite certain that at that time the story of 
Hiawatha was new to Mr. Schoolcraft. I then referred 
him to the source whence I derived it. I also at the 
same time gave him a note to Mr. Francis Hall, one of 
the publishers of the Commercial Advertiser, request- 
ing him to deliver to Mr. Schoolcraft the said 
manuscript. Mr. Hall subsequently wrote me that he 
had so delivered it, but that it had not been returned 
to him. 

The legend or tradition of Hiawatha was copied 
almost verbatim into Mr. Schoolcraft's "Notes on the 
Iroquois," the different points proceeding in exactly 
the same order of sequence, the language only in 
several places being changed, and all without the 
customary credit. Whether the tradition was 
improved by the transformation anyone may judge 
by comparison. (See Clark's " Onondaga," vol. I. 
pp. 21 to 30, and Schoolcraft's "Notes on the Iroquois," 
pp. 271 to 283, and his " History, Condition and 


Prospects of the Indian Tribes in the United States/ 
(third part, page 314, etc.) 

Now, I challenge Mr. Schoolcraft to show that he 
had any cine to the narrative and details of the 
Onondaga tradition of Hiawatha, nntil he had access 
to rny manuscript as received by him from the editor 
of the New York Commercial Advertiser. 

As an evidence, I here most distinctly and emphati- 
cally assert that the name " Hosee Noke," at page 278 
of the " Notes " is an unadulterated fiction of my own, 
created for the occasion, suggested by a wild, half- 
crazy, merry- Andrew sort of fellow, an Indian, who 
always took the lead in all the grotesque dances held 
at the Onondaga Castle, who bore a similar name, and 
who was a " Runner," and who is since dead. 

Again, the speech of Hiawatha, as it appears at 
page 280 of the "Notes," is a pure invention of my 
own, and it is identical, verbatim, with the same 
speech in Clark's "Onondaga," vol. I. at page 28, 
which is like the manuscript furnished to Mr. 
Schoolcraft by me through the editor of the Commer- 
cial Advertiser. In the "Notes," however, Mr. 
Schoolcraft has transposed the word Onondaga, and 
entirely omitted the word Mohawk, which should be 
in its place, which change wholly destroys the force, 
truth and beauty of the allusions, for it makes them 
totally inapplicable as rendered in the " Notes." The 
Onondagas were always known as ' ' The People of 


the Hills." Father Hennepin, Lib. II. page 104, 
styles them the " Iroquois Highlanders," and in early- 
times the Mohawks were styled the " Great Tree," to 
which the Dutch first made fast the chain of friend- 
ship in their intercourse with the " Five Nations." 
The names of the Senecas and Cayugas are omitted in 
their proper places in the "Notes," as are also the 
names of the several other Indian nations. 

The version of "Hiawatha, or the Origin of the 
Onondaga Council-Fire," in the larger work of Mr. 
Schoolcraft, is merely an abridgement of the story as 
it appears in the "Notes," though the speech of 
Hiawatha is retained mainly. Most of the first part 
of the tradition is entirely omitted in the larger work, 
with the supplementary addition of the note accounting 
for the source of its derivation. 

The name Hi-a-wat-ha is purely Onondaga. It 
has no existence or counterpart among the Indians 
beyond the precincts of the Confederate Nations. 
Other nations may have their " Quetzalcoatl," their 
" Manitou," their " Manabozho," their " Mondamni," 
or other divinities, known by various names and 
possessed of live characteristics, yet the Iroquois 
alone have the true Hi-a-wat-ha, the great founder of 
their league. 

Upon the appearance of the tradition of Hiawatha 
in the " Notes on the Iroquois," in 1847, I called the 
attention of several of my friends to the fact of its 

Schoolcraft's plagiariasm 365 

having been previously read before the Manlius 
Lyceum, and we compared the manuscript copy 
retained by me with the version in the " Notes on the 
Iroquois," and found them identical in the delineation 
throughout, and verbatim in many entire paragraphs, 
which circumstance could not possibly have occurred 
had the tradition been " derived from the verbal narra- 
tions of the late Abraham Le Fort, an Onondaga 

These gentlemen, my friends above referred to, 
will attest to the facts herein set forth. 

For myself I claim no particular merit or distinc- 
tion for the tradition of Hiawatha, as the source of its 
origin as it appears in English. 

Nor do I wish in the remotest sense to detract a 
particle from the well-earned fame of Mr. Schoolcraft 
in regard to his Indian researches. But since the 
tradition of Hiawatha has become the theme and sub- 
stance of a purely American poem, which is attracting 
a world-wide attention, and the origin of the tradition 
has been wrongfully attributed in a note at the end of 
the volume, and has been introduced into the greatest 
Indian work of the age par excellence, as "derived 
from the verbal narrations of the late Abraham 
Le Fort, an Onondaga Chief," it is as well that the 
public should be informed truly of the source. 

This letter is signed by Joshua V. H. Clark, and it 
is dated Manlius, Onondaga county, New York, 
January 2, 185G. 


Homer D. L. Sweet, in his biographical sketch of 
Joshua V. H. Clark, whose death occurred in Manilas, 
June 18, 1869, in his sixty-seventh year, says: "Very 
unfortunately for Mr. Schoolcraft, he replied to Mr. 
Clark, and imputed motives to him unworthy of a 
gentleman. Mr. Clark, in a rejoinder, produced the 
proofs and convicted Mr. Schoolcraft of plagiarism, if 
not of untruthfulness." 

Mr. Longfellow sent a copy of his " Song of 
Hiawatha " to Mr. Clark, January, 185G, accompa- 
nying it with a letter, which was given to the Onon- 
daga Historical Association. 

Mr.Beauchamp,in a letter to the Syracuse Standard, 
April 11, 1894, makes reference to another legend of 
Hiawatha, accidentally found by him in a book 
published in 1839. This book is entitled: "The 
History of the New Netherlands, Province of New 
York and State of New York, to the adoption of the 
Federal Constitution," written by William Dunlap 
and printed for the author by Carter & Thorp of New 
York in 1839. Mr. Dunlap says that he had frequent 
communication with Ephraim Webster, the Indian 
interpreter, and he adds: "Mr. Webster was most 
conversant with the Onondagas, and when I knew him 
in 1815, cultivated land in Onondaga Hollow, and was 
looked up to by the Indians as a friend and father." 

Mr. Dunlap's account of the origin of the Iroquois 
confederation is as follows : — 


The Indian tradition of the origin of the confed- 
eracy as given by him [Ephraim Webster], was as 
follows : He said that the happy thought of union for 
defence originated with an inferior Chief of the 
Onondagas, who perceiving that although the five 
tribes were alike in language, and had by co-operation 
conquered a great extent of country, yet that they had 
frequent quarrels and no head or great council, to 
reconcile them; and that while divided, the Western 
Indians attacked and destroyed them ; seeing this, he 
conceived the bright idea of union, and of a great 
council of the chiefs of the Five Nations. This, he 
said, and perhaps thought, came to him in a dream; 
and it was afterward considered as coming from the 
Great Spirit. He proposed this plan in a council of 
his tribe, but the principal chief opposed it. He was 
a great warrior, and feared to lose his influence as 
head man of the Onondagas. This was a selfish man. 

The younger chief, who we will call Oweko, was 
silenced; but he determined in secret to attempt the 
great political work. This was a man who loved the 
welfare of others. To make long journeys and be 
absent for several days while hunting, would cause 
no suspicion, because it was common. He left home 
as if to hunt ; but taking a circuitous path through 
the woods, for all this great country was then a 
wilderness, he made his way to the village or castle 
of the Mohawks. He consulted some of the leaders 


of that tribe, and they received the scheme favorably ; 
he visited the Oneidas, and gained the assent of their 
chief ; he then returned home. After a time he made 
another pretended hunt, and another; thus, by de- 
grees, visiting the Cayugas and Senecas, and gained 
the assent of all to a great council to be held at Onon- 
daga. With consummate art he then gained over his 
own chief, by convincing him of the advantages of 
the confederacy, and agreeing that he should be con- 
sidered as the author of the plan. The great council 
met, and the chief of the Onondagas made use of a 
figurative argument, taught him by Oweko, which 
was the same that we read of in the fable, where a 
father teaches his sons the value of union by taking 
one stick from a bundle, and showing how feeble it 
was, and easily broken, and that when bound together 
the bundle resisted his utmost strength. 

Mr. Beau champ's letter, to which reference has been 
made, contains a letter to him from Dr. Horatio Hale, 
the distinguished philologist, in which Dr. Hale says : 
" ' Oweko ' does not differ so widely from ' Hiawatha ' 
that we may not fairly presume to have been a corrup- 
tion of the latter name, made in passing from one 
dialect to another, and finally into English. The 
Mohawk form of the name, as you will see in the 
'Book of Rites,' p. 128, is Ayonhwahtha. The 
strong dental aspirate, represented by ' htk,' heard by 
a foreign ear, might easily become a 'k.' We have 
many examples of corruption quite as great." 


Regarding the words " Oweko " and " Hiawatha," 
Mr. Beauchamp says: "In regard to Mr. Hale's 
conjecture on the name, while good, it is hardly 
required, as the relator of Webster's story merely 
says : ' The younger chief, whom we will call Oweko, 
was silenced.' The inference is that he was uncertain 
in his recollection of the name, and gave it as best he 

Dr. Hale is of the opinion "that the justly venerated 
author of this confederation, the far-famed Hiawatha, 
was not, as some have thought, a mythological or a 
poetical creation, but really an aboriginal statesman 
and law-maker, a personage as authentic and as admir- 
able as Solon or Washington. The important bearing of 
these conclusions on our estimate of the mental and 
moral endowments of primitive or uncultivated man 
is too clear to require explanation." 

Mr. Beauchamp, while not agreeing entirely with 
this opinion of Dr. Hale, is inclined to think that it is 
in the main correct. 



The old town of Salina, now the towns of Salina 
and Geddes and the city of Syracuse, the greater part 
of which was originally embraced in the Salt Springs 
Reservation, was incorporated March 27, 1809, its 
territory having been a part of the original townships 
of Manlius and Marcellus. The villages of Syracuse, 
Salina and Geddes, now forming the greater part of 
the city of Syracuse, were originally in the town of 
Salina. The village of Salina was incorporated March 
12, 1824. The village of Syracuse was incorporated 
April 13, 1825; and the first meeting for the election 
of village officers was held at the old schoolhouse 
May 3, 1825. The village of Geddes was incorporated 
April 20, 1832, though a map of the site of Geddes 
village was made as early as 1807, and several other 
maps a few years later. Geddes was not formed as a 
town until 1848. The town included all that part of 
the town of Salina west of Onondaga lake, not now 
embraced in the city of Syracuse. Syracuse was 



incorporated by act of Legislature as a city, December 

14, 1847, and it included the villages of Salina and 
Syracuse. An election was held in those two villages 
January 3, 1848; and by the vote of that election the 
act of incorporation became a law. The first election 
in the city of Syracuse was held March 7, 1848, and 
the first Common Council meeting was held March 13, 
1848. The annexation of Geddes and adjacent terri- 
tory to Syracuse, was authorized by act of Legislature 
May 17, 188G. The Danforth territory was authorized 
to be annexed to Syracuse by act of Legislature June 

15, 1886. Danforth had been incorporated as a village 
after the election held December 21, 1874, favoring 
such action. 

The city of Syracuse is situated in the midst of a 
rich agricultural region, and near the centre of New 
York state. It is a favorable place for holding 
conventions, because of its central location ; and it is 
often called "The City of Conventions" and "The 
Central City." Syracuse is the county seat of Onon- 
daga county. This county was originally formed 
from the western part of Herkimer county, March 5, 
1794, and included all of the Military Tract, the 
boundaries of which embraced, (besides the territory 
of the present Onondaga county,) all of what is now 
included in the counties of Cayuga, Seneca, Cortland, 
and all of that part of Tompkins county lying north 
of a line drawn west from the head of Seneca lake to 


the southwest corner of Cortland county, and all that 
part of Oswego county lying west of the Oswego river. 
From this then great county, Cayuga was taken off 
March 8, 1799; Cortland, April 8, 1808; and a part of 
( )swego, March 1, 1810. When organized, the county 
was divided into eleven towns, viz: Homer, Pompey, . 
Manlius, Lysander, Marcellus, Ulysses, Milton, Scipio, 
Ovid, Anrelius and Romulus. The town of Onondaga 
was set off from the original townships of Marcellus, 
Pompey and Manlius, by an act of Legislature, March 
9, 1798. A part of Salina was taken off in 1809, and a 
part of Camillus in 1834. 

The first courts in Onondaga county were held in 
barns and private residences at Onondaga, Levaima, 
on the shore of Cayuga lake, now in Cayuga county, 
and Ovid, now in Seneca county. The first court 
house was erected at Onondaga Hill in 1805-'06. The 
commissioners appointed to select the site for the 
court house were Asa Danforth, George Ballard and 
Roswell Tousley. 

The Walton Tract, which plays such an important 
part in the history of Syracuse, being situated in what 
is now the heart of the city, and consisting of 250 acres 
of land of the Salt Springs Reservation, was sold at 
public auction in June, 1804, and bid off by Abraham 
Walton for $6,550. The sale was authorized by act of 
Legislature, and the proceeds were expended in laying 
out and improving a road running from lot forty-nine, 


Manlius, to lot thirty-eight, Onondaga, east and west 
through the reservation. This road was the old 
Seneca turnpike. The laud had been advertised for 
sale with the announcement that upon it was a good 
mill site. The tract was laid out in an irregular form 
by James Geddes, in order that as much dry land 
might be secured as possible. But notwithstanding all 
the precaution of Mr. Geddes, it was found impossible 
to locate the ground in such a manner as to avoid 
entirely the swamp, some considerable portion of 
which was covered with water most of the year; a 
doleful place, indeed, for the site of a future city. 

A portion of the Walton Tract was sold to Michael 
Hogan and Charles Walton, who, with the original 
proprietor, held it in common. After some unim- 
portant changes, the tract was sold in 1814, for $9,000, 
to Formau, Wilson & Company, composed of Joshua 
Forman, Ebenezer Wilson, Jr., and John B. Creed. 
The tract was sold by the Sheriff, October 26, 1818, to 
Daniel Kellogg and William H. Sabin for $10,915. 
The next owner was Henry Eckford, the celebrated 
ship builder of New York. He purchased it in 1823. 
In May, 1821, the Walton Tract was transferred for 
$30,000 to the Syracuse Company, composed of William 
James of Albany, who owned five-eights; Isaiah 
Townsend and John Townsend of Albany, who owned 
two-eighths; and James McBride of New York, who 
owned one-eighth. The tract was then deeded in 


trust to Moses D. Burnet and Gideon Hawley. During 

all this time, extensive sales had been made of portions 

of this tract to different individuals. 

The village officers of Syracuse are as follows: 

L 825. — Trustees — Joshua Forman, President; Amos 
P. Granger, Moses D. Burnet, Heman Walbridgc, 
John Rogers. Assessors — James Webb, Alfred 
Northam, Thomas Spencer. Clerk — John Wil- 
kinson. Treasurer — John Durnford. 

1826. — Trustees — William Malcolm, President; Jonas 
Mann, John Wall, Henry Young, A. N. Van 
Patten, Assessors — A. N. Van Patten, Stephen 
W. Cadwell, Alfred Northam. Clerk—Peter 
Van Olinda. Treasurer — John Durnford. 

1827. — Trustees — Jonas Mann, President; Archie 
Kasson, John Wilkinson, James Webb, Jonathan 
Day. Assessors — Stephen W. Cadwell, Parent 
Filkins, Humphrey Mellen. Clerk — John C. 
Field. Treasurer — Volney Cook. 

1828. — Trustees — Henry Newton, President; John 
Wall, Amos P. Granger, John Wilkinson, John 
H. Johnson. Assessors — Joseph Slocum, Calvin 
Riley, Pliny Dickinson. Clerk — John C. Field. 
Treasurer — Stephen W. Cadwell. 

L829.— Trustees— Stephen W. Cadwell, President; 
Joseph Slocum, B. Davis Noxon, Calvin Riley, 
H. W. Van Buren. Assessors — Elbert Norton, 
James Webb, W. B. Kirk. Clerk— John C. 
Field. Treasurer — George Fitch. 


1830.— Trustees— William B. Kirk, President; Elbert 
Norton, Schuyler Strong, Columbus Bradley, 
H. W. Van Buren. Assessors — R. I. Brockway, 
David Stafford, Joseph Savage. Clerk — John C. 
Field. Treasurer — Hiram Judson. 

1.831. — Trustees — Daniel Elliott, President; B. Davis 
Noxon, Elijah Dunlap, Columbus Bradley, Ros- 
well Hinman. Assessors — Theodore Ashley, 
William H. Alexander, Paschal Thurber. Clerk — 
Hiram A. Deniing. Treasurer — Elbert Norton. 

1832. — Trustees — Hiram Putnam, President; Will- 
iam Malcolm, David Stafford, jr., Willet Raynor, 
Columbus Bradley. Assessors — Daniel Elliott, 
George Hooker, Mather Williams. Clerk — 
Hiram A. Deniing. Treasurer — Elbert Norton. 

L833. — Trustees — Henry Davis, jr., President; 
Columbus Bradley, Stephen W. Cadwell, Lewis 
H. Redfield, John H. Johnson. Assessors— Amos 
P. Granger, John Wilkinson, David S. Colvin. 
Clerk — Edward B. Wicks. Treasurer — Hiram 
A. Deniing. 

1834. — Trustees — B. Davis Noxon, President; Lyman 
Phillips, Silas Ames, Paschal Thurber, William 
K. Blair. Assessors — Hiram Putnam, George 
W. Burnet, Harmon W. Van Buren. Clerk — 
J. E. Hanchett. Treasurer — Hiram A. Deming. 

1835. — Trustees — Stephen W. Cadwell, President; 
Vivus W. Smith, Elihu Walter, Silas Ames, 


Roswell Hiuman. Assessors — Lewis H. Red field, 
Henry W. Starin, Thomas Bennett. Clerk — 
Peter Cutwater, jr. Treasurer — Hiram Judson. 

1 836. — Trustees — Pliny Dickinson. President; Thomas 
B. Fitch, William Jackson, Elihu L. Phillips, 
James Huff. Assessors — William B. Kirk, David 
Stafford, jr., Hiram Putnam. Clerk — Levi L. 
Chapman. Treasurer — Charles B. Hargin. 

L837. — Trustees — Elias W. Leavenworth, President; 
William Jackson, John H. Lathrop, Theodore 
Wood, Samuel Larned. Assessors — Hiram Put- 
nam, William H. Alexander, Robert Furman. 
Clerk — H. Nelson Cheney. Treasurer — Edward 
B. Wicks. 

1838. — Trustees — Elias W. Leavenworth, President; 
Jonathan Baldwin, Robert Furman, Amos P. 
Granger, Ziba W. Cogswell. Assessors — Pliny 
Dickinson, Charles A. Baker, John H. Lathrop. 
Clerk — Samuel D. Day. Treasurer — Edward 
B. Wicks. 

is:; 1 .). — Trustees — Elias W. Leavenworth, President; 
Jonathan Baldwin, Robert Furman, Amos P. 
Granger, Ziba W. Cogswell. Assessors — Pliny 
Dickinson, Charles A. Baker, John H. Lathrop. 
Clerk — Samuel D. Day. Treasurer — Edward 
B. Wicks. 

is io. -Trustees — Elias W. Leavenworth, President; 
Jonathan Baldwin, Paschal Thurber, Gardner 


Lawrence, Lucius A. Cheney. Assessors — Jona- 
than Baldwin, William K. Blair, Charles A. 
Baker. Clerk — Jasper Smith. Treasurer — Har- 
mon W. Van Buren. 
1841. — Trustees — Thomas T. Davis, President; Will- 
iam Barker, Elisha George, Hiram Putnam, 
Johnson Hall. Assessors — William H. Alexander, 
William Malcolm, Mather Williams. Clerk — 
William M. Clarke. Treasurer — Harmon W. 
Van Buren. 
1842. — Trustees — Henry W. Durnford, President; 
George Stevens, Joseph Savage, Charles A. Baker, 
Robert Furman. Assessors — Horace Butts, Ansel 
Lull, Henry Gifford. Clerk — John K. Barlow. 
Treasurer — Pliny Dickinson. 
1843. — Trustees — Henry Rhoades, President; George 
Stevens, Alanson Thorp, R. R. Phelps, Smith 
Ostrom. Assessors — John Newell, William 
Barker, Horace Butts. Clerk — Richard A. Yoe. 
Treasurer — Hiram Putnam. 
1844.— Trustees— Philo D. Mickles, President; Alex- 
ander McKinstry, Horace Butts, Robert Furman, 
Lucius A. Cheney. Assessors — Joseph Slocum, 
Charles A. Baker, Jared H. Parker. Clerk — 
Rodolphus H. Duell. Treasurer — Hiram Putnam. 
1K4T>. — Trustees — William Barker, President; Jared 
H. Parker, Alexander McKinstry, L. A. Cheney, 
Bradley Cary. Assessors — William B. Kirk, 


Charles A. Baker, Joseph Slocurn. Clerk — Caleb 
B. Crumb. Treasurer — Hiram Putnam. 

184G. — Trustees — Elias W. Leavenworth, President ; 
S. A 7 . R.VanHeusen, Hamilton White, William B. 
Kirk, JosephBillings. Assessors — George Stevens, 
Charles A. Baker, William Barker. Clerk — 
Oliver R. W. Lull. Treasurer — Hiram Putnam. 

1847. — Trustees — Elias W. Leavenworth, President; 
Alexander McKinstry, Charles Leonard, Henry 
Agnew, Perley B.Cleveland. Assessors — William 
Barker, Harmon W. Van Buren, J. H. Parker. 
Clerk — Daniel P. Wood. Treasurer — Hiram 
The city officers of Syracuse are as follows : 

1S4S. — Mayor — Harvey Baldwin, Democrat. Clerk 
— Richard A. Yoe. Treasurer — Perry Burdick. 
Aldermen — First ward — Elizur Clark, James 
Lynch. Second ward — John B. Burnet, Alex- 
ander McKinstry. Third ward — Gardner Law- 
rence, William H. Alexander. Fourth ward — 
Robert Furman, Henry W. Durnford. 

L849.— Mayor— Elias W. Leavenworth, Whig. Clerk 
— S. Corning Judd. Treasurer— Harmon \V. 
Van Buren. Aldermen — First ward — James 
Lynch, Thomas Feagan, (resigned February 26, 
L850.) John P. Babcock, (appointed by Common 
Council to fill vacancy.) Second ward — Alexan- 
der McKinstry, Silas Titus. Third ward — 


Gardner Lawrence, Amos Westcott. Fourth 
ward— Henry W. Durnford, Edward B. Wicks. 

1850.— Mayor— Alfred H. Hovey, Whig. Clerk— 
LeRoy L. Alexander. Treasurer— Harvey Hatha- 
way. Aldermen — First ward — John P. Babcock, 
Miles W. Bennett. Second ward— Silas Titus, 
George W. Herrick. Third ward— Amos West- 
cott, John W. Barker. Fourth ward— Edward B. 
Wicks, Henry D. Hatch. 

1851.— Mayor— Moses D. Burnet, Loco Foco, (elected 
but declined to qualify.) Horace Wheaton, 
(appointed by Common Council.) Clerk— LeRoy 
L. Alexander. Treasurer — James A. Castle. 
Aldermen— First ward— Miles W. Bennett, Burr 
Barton. Second ward— George W. Herrick, 
James M. Taylor. Third ward— John W. Barker, 
(removed from ward,) Benjamin L. Higgins 
(elected to fill vacancy,) Volney Green. Fourth 
ward — Henry D. Hatch, Charles Pope. 

1852. — Mayor— Jason C. Woodruff, Loco Foco. 
Clerk — LeRoy L. Alexander. Treasurer — Jacob 
S. Smith. Aldermen— First ward— Burr Bur- 
ton, Alonzo Crippen. Second ward — Daniel 
O. Salmon, Harmon Ackerman. Third ward — 
Volney Green, Addison G. Williams. Fourth 
ward — Charles gope, Oliver T. Burt. 

is."):;. — Mayor — Dennis McCarthy, Loco Foco. Clerk 
— LeRoy L. Alexander. Treasurer — John M. Jay- 
cox. Aldermen — First ward — Alonzo Crippen, 


Patrick Cooney. Second ward — Daniel O. Salmon, 
Alexander McKinstry. Third ward — Addison G. 
Williams, John A. Clarke. Fourth ward — Oliver 
T. Burt, George J. Gardner. 

1854.— Mayor— Allen Munroe, Whig. Clerk— Car- 
roll E. Smith. Treasurer — S. Hervey Slosson, 
Aldermen — First ward — Patrick Cooney, Rich- 
ard Sanger. Second Ward — Peter Ohneth, Jacob 
Pfohl. Third ward — Alexander McKinstry, Sol- 
omon Wands. Fourth ward — Peter Featherly, 
Francis A. Thayer. Fifth ward — William B. 
Durkee, Z. Lawrence Beebe. Sixth ward — John 
A. Clarke, Timothy Hough. Seventh ward — 
William C. Young, Robert M. Richardson. 
Eighth ward — George J. Gardner, Tobias Van 

is,");). — Mayor — Lyman Stevens, Republican. Clerk 
—Carroll E. Smith. Treasurer— S. Her- 

vey Slosson. Aldermen — First ward — Richard 
Sanger, Timotny R. Porter. Second ward — 
Jacob Pfohl, Peter Ohneth. Third ward — 
Solomon Wands, Manly T. Hilliard. Fourth 
ward — Francis A. Thayer, William Kirkpatrick. 
Fifth ward— Z. Lawrence Beebe, Vernam C. 
James. Sixth ward — Timothy Hough, Charles 
H. Wells. Seventh ward— Robert M. Richard- 
son, Horatio N. White Eighth ward — Tobias 
Van Dusen, Elijah M. Ford. 


1856. — Mayor — Charles F. Williston, Democrat. 
Clerk — Carroll E. Smith. Treasurer— Edgar 
Marvin. Aldermen — First ward — Timothy R. 
Porter, Coddington B. Williams. Second ward — 
Peter Ohneth, Peter Conrad. Third ward — Manly 
T. Hilliard, Charles Manahan. Fourth ward — 
William Kirkpatrick, George Sanford. Fifth 
ward — Vernam C. James, William B. Durkee. 
Sixth ward — Henry Church, Amos B. Hough. 
Seventh ward — Horatio N. White, Francis A. 
Marsh. Eight ward — James L. Bagg, Norman 

L857. — Mayor — Charles F. Williston, Democrat. 
Clerk — James S. Gillespie. Treasurer — Horace 
Wheaton. Aldermen — First ward — Coddington 
B. Williams, Patrick Cooney. Second ward — 
Peter Conrad, Cornelius L. Alvord. Third ward 
— Cliarles Manahan, John Ritchie. Fourth ward 
— George Sanford, William Kirkpatrick. Fifth 
ward — John C. Manly, (to fill vacancy), John J. 
Mowry. Sixth ward — Amos B. Hough, Henrv 
Church. Seventh ward — Francis A. Marsh, 
John Radigan. Eighth ward — Norman Watson, 
Samuel J. Lackey. 

L858. — Mayor — William Winton, Democrat. Clerk — 
James S. Gillespie. Treasurer — Horace Wheaton. 
Aldermen — First ward — Patrick Cooney. Second 
ward — Frederick Gilbert. Third ward — Charles 


Manahan. Fourth ward — James Johnson. Fifth 
ward — Abiah P. Doane. Sixth ward — John L. 
Cook. Seventh ward — Robert M. Richardson. 
Eighth ward — Samuel J. Lack*ey. 

L859. — Mayor — Elias W. Leavenworth, Republican. 
Clerk — Edgar S. Mathews. Treasurer — Norman 
Otis. Aldermen — First ward — Harvey Hatha- 
way. Second ward — Adam Listman. Third 
ward — Samuel P. Geer. Fourth ward- — Luke 
Collins. Fifth ward— David Field. Sixth ward 
—Charles P. Clark. Seventh ward — Jason S. 
Hoyt. Eighth ward — Austin Myers. 

1 sco. — Mayor — Amos Westcott, Republican. Clerk — 
Edgar S. Mathews. Treasurer — John G. K. 
Truair. Aldermen — First ward — Harvey Hatha- 
way. Second ward — Adam Listman. Third 
ward — Samuel P. Geer. Fourth ward — Luke 
Collins. Fifth ward — David Field. Sixth ward 
— Charles P. Clark. Seventh ward — Horatio N. 
White. Eighth ward — Samuel J. Lackey. 

1 86 1 . — May< >r — Charles Andrews, Republican. Clerk 
—Edgar S. Mathews. Treasurer — John G. K. 
Truair. Aldermen — First war< V— Garrett Doyle. 
Second ward — Jacob Pfohl. Third ward — Samuel 
P. Geer. Fourth ward— Horatio G. Glen. Fifth 
ward — David Field. Sixth ward-Moses Sum- 
mers. Seventh ward— Horatio N. White Eighth 
ward — Ira Seymour. 


1862. — Mayor — Charles Andrews, Republican. — Clerk 
— Edgar S. 'Mathews. Treasurer — John G. K. 
Truair. Aldermen — First ward — Garrett Doyle. 
Second ward — Benedict Haberle. Third ward — 
Samuel P. Geer. Fourth ward — William Sum- 
mers. Fifth ward — Josiah Bettis. Sixth ward — 
Charles P. Clark. Seventh ward — Horatio N. 
White. Eighth ward — Ira Seymour. 

L863. — Mayor — Daniel Bookstaver, Democrat. — Clerk 
— Robert M. Beecher. Treasurer — DanielJ. Hal- 
sted. Aldermen — First ward — Franklin Ward. 
Second ward — Charles Meebold. Third ward- 
Francis H. Kennedy. Fourth ward — Luke Col- 
lins. Fifth ward — Jacob Pinkerton. Sixth ward 
— Francis E. Carroll. Seventh ward — Parley 
Bassett. Eighth ward — George J. Gardner. 

1804. — Mayor — Archibald C. Powell, Republican. 
Clerk — Edward H. Brown. Treasurer — John 
G. K. Truair. Aldermen — First ward — Franklin 
Ward. Second ward — Charles F. Wisehoon. 
Third ward — Jacobus Bruyn. Fourth ward — Ho- 
ratio G. Glen. Fifth ward — Josiah Bettis. Sixth 
ward — Alfred Higgins. Seventh ward — John J. 
Crouse. Eighth ward — Philander W. Hudson. 

1805. — Mayor — William D. Stewart, Democrat. Clerk 
— Edward H. Brown. Treasurer — John G. K. 
Truair. Aldermen — First ward — Peter Mackin. 
Second ward — Charles F. Wisehoon. Third ward — 


Jacobus Bruyn. Fourth ward — Charles Stroh. 
Fifth ward — Alison A. Sweet! Sixth ward — 
Alfred Higgins. Seventh ward — John J. Crouse. 
Eighth ward — James Bonner. 

L866. — Mayor — William D. Stewart, Democrat. Clerk 
— Edgar S. Mathews. Treasurer — Moses Sum- 
mers. Aldermen — First ward — Peter Mackin. 
Second ward — John Graff. Third ward — Edmund 
'B. Griswold. Fourth ward — Charles Stroh. 
Fifth ward— David Field. Sixth ward— Alfred 
Higgins. Seventh ward — Joseph E. Masters. 
Eighth ward — Robert Hewitt. 

1867. — Mayor — William D. Stewart, Democrat. Clerk 
— Edgar S. Mathews. Treasurer — Charles J. 
Foute. Aldermen — First ward — Samuel Kent. 
Second ward — John Graff. Third ward — Jacobus 
Bruyn. Fourth ward — David Wilcox. Fifth 
ward — Horatio G. Glen. Sixth ward — Richard 
W. Jones. Seventh ward — Miles HandWright. 
Eighth ward — Robert Hewitt. 

L868. — Mayor — Charles. Andrews, Republican. Clerk 
— Edgar S. Mathews. Treasurer — Thomas S. 
Truair. A Mermen — First ward — John McKeever. 
Second ward — John Hirsch. Third ward — Jaco- 
bus Bruyn. Fourth ward — Nicholas Grumbach. 
Fifth ward — John Stedman. Sixth ward — Rich- 
ard W. Joins. Seventh ward — Benjamin L. 
Higgins. Eighth ward — James Pinkerton. 


1869. — Mayor — Charles P. Clark, Republican. Clerk 
— Edgar S. Mathews. Treasurer — Thomas S. 
Truair. Aldermen — First ward — Samuel Kent. 
Second ward— Peter Miller. Third ward— Will- 
iam H. Austin. Fourth ward — Nicholas 
Grumbach. Fifth ward — Horatio G. Glen. Sixth 
ward — Alfred Higgins. Seventh ward — Jacob 
Levi. Eighth ward — James Pinkerton. 

L870. — Mayor — Charles P. Clark, Republican. Clerk 
— Samuel W. Sherlock. Treasurer — Parley Bas- 
sett. Aldermen — First ward — John McGuire. 
Second ward — Maximilian Blust. Third ward — 
Martin Smith. Fourth ward — William Phillipson. 
Fifth ward— Christopher C. Bradley. Sixth 
ward — Samuel E. Kingsley. Seventh ward — 
Jacob Levi. Eighth ward — George Draper. 

is; l. — Mayor — Francis E. Carroll, Democrat. Clerk 
— Samuel W. Sherlock. Treasurer — Parley Bas- 
sett. Aldernien — First ward — John McGuire. 
Second ward — Jacob Knapp. Third ward — Alfred 
A. Howlett. Fourth ward — William Phillipson. 
Fifth ward — Christopher C. Bradley. Sixth 
ward — Thomas Nesdall. Seventh ward — Jacob 
Levi. Eighth ward — Thomas G. Bassett. 

L872. — Mayor — Francis E. Carroll, Democrat. Clerk 
— Samuel W. Sherlock. Treasurer — Parley Bas- 
sett. Aldermen — First ward — John McGuire. 
Second ward — John Dernong-. Third ward — 


Richard Clancy. Fourth ward — John Kohl. Fifth 
ward — Jacob Pinkerton. Sixth ward — Thomas 
Nesdall. Seventh ward — William Cahill. Eighth 
ward — E. Austin Barnes. 

L873. — Mayor — William J. Wallace, Republican. 
Clerk — Samuel W. Sherlock. Treasurer — Parley 
Bassett. Aldermen — First ward — John Cawley. 
Second ward — John Demong. Third ward — 
Richard Clancy. Fourth ward — John Kohl. 
Fifth ward — John H. Horton. Sixth ward — John 
R. Whitlock. Seventh ward— William Cahill. 
Eighth ward — George J. Gardner. 

1 8 r J . — Mayor — Nathan F. Graves, Democrat. Clerk — 
Samuel W. Sherlock. Treasurer — Parley Bassett. 
Aldermen — First ward — John Cawley. Second 
ward — John Demong. Third ward — Richard 
Clancy. Fourth ward — William Kirkpatrick. 
Fifth ward — John D. Gray. Sixth ward — John R. 
Whitlock. Seventh ward — William Cahill. 
Eighth ward — James L. Hill. 

lslo. — Mayor — George P. Hier, Republican. Clerk — 
Lyman C. Dorwin. Treasurer — Albert L. Bridge- 
man. Aldermen — First ward — Jeremiah F. 
Barnes. Second ward — Adam Filsinger. Third 
ward— Austin C. Wood. Fourth ward — Thomas 
Ryan. Fifth ward — William Dickinson. Sixth 
ward — Alfred Higgins. Seventh ward — Albert 
M. Morse. Eighth ward— James L. Hill. 


1876.— Mayor— John J. Grouse, Republican. Clerk— 
Lyman C. Dorwin. Treasurer— James B. Rae. 
Aldermen— First ward — John Harvey. Second 
ward— John Demong. Third ward— Timothy 
Sullivan. Fourth ward -Thomas Ryan. Fifth 
ward- Samuel Taylor. Sixth ward- Alfred Hig- 
gins. Seventh ward- Albert M. Morse. Eighth 
ward -Riley V. Miller. 

1877.— Mayor— James J. Belden, Republican. Clerk 
—Lyman C. Dorwin. Treasurer— Stiles M. Rust. 
Aldermen — First ward — Jeremiah F. Barnes. 
Second ward— John Listman. Third ward- 
Timothy Sullivan. Fourth ward— J. Emmet 
Wells. Fifth ward— A. Clarke Baum. Sixth 
ward— Alfred Higgins. Seventh ward— Albert 
M. Morse. Eighth ward — Jacob Crouse. 

1878.— Mayor— James J. Belden. Clerk— Lyman C. 
Dorwin. Treasurer— Stiles M. Rust, Aldermen 
—First ward— John Harvey. Second ward- 
Philip Schaefer. Third ward— Timothy Sullivan. 
Fourth ward— J. Emmet Wells. Fifth ward- 
Pierce B. Brayton. Sixth ward— Alfred Higgins. 
Seventh ward— Thomas McCarthy. Eighth 
ward — Dennis M. Kennedy. 

1879.— Mayor— Irving G. Vann, Republican. Clerk 
—Lyman C. Dorwin. Treasurer— Timothy Sul- 
livan. Aldermen— First ward— Andrew Martin. 
Second ward— Joseph Walier. Third ward— 


Anthony S. Webb. Fourth ward — Charles 
Schlosser. Fifth ward — Charles Hubbard. Sixth 
ward — Daniel Candee. Seventh ward — Dennis 
B. Keller. Eighth ward — Luther S. Merrick. 

1880. — Mayor — Francis Hendricks, Republican. Clerk 
— Lyman C. Dorwin. Treasurer — Timothy Sulli- 
van. Aldermen — First ward— Andrew Martin. 
Second ward — Joseph Walier. Third ward — 
Anthony S. Webb. Fourth ward — Charles Schlos- 
ser. Fifth ward— Greene W. Ingalls. Sixth 
ward — Daniel Candee. Seventh ward — William 
Cahill. Eighth ward — Luther S. Merrick. 

1 88 1 . — Mayor — Francis Hendricks, Republican. Clerk 
— Lyman C. Dorwin. Treasurer — Timothy Sulli- 
van. Aldermen — First ward — Frederick Beley. 
Second ward — Jacob Eichenlaub. Third ward — 
Anthony S. Webb. Fourth ward — James Fine- 
gan. Fifth ward — Richard Tremain. Sixth 
ward — Willis B. Burns. Seventh ward — John 
Bedford. Eighth ward — Luther S. Merrick. 

1882. — Mayor — John Demong, Democrat. Clerk — 
Lyman C. Dorwin. Treasurer — Timothy Sulli- 
van. Aldermen — First ward — Frederick Beley. 
Second ward — Jacob Eichenlaub. Third ward 
— Anthony S. Webb. Fourth ward — James 
Finegan. Fifth ward — Richard Tremain. Sixth 
ward — Willis B. Burns. Seventh ward — John 
Bedford. Eighth ward — Luther S. Merrick. 


1883. — Mayor — Thomas Ryan, Democrat. Clerk — 
Lyman C. Dorwin. Treasurer — Charles J. Rae. 
Aldermen — First ward — Frederick Beley. Second 
ward — Jacob Eichenlaub — Third ward — Frank 
Matty. Fourth ward— J. Emmet Wells. Fifth 
ward — John C. Keefe. Sixth ward — Charles E. 
Candee. Seventh ward — Thomas Mc Maims. 
Eighth ward — Luther S. Merrick. 

1884. — Mayor — Thomas Ryan, Democrat. Clerk — 
Henry W. Bannister. Treasurer — Charles J. 
Rae. Aldermen— First ward — Hoyt H. Freeman. 
Second ward — Charles Listman. Third ward — 
Frank Matty. Fourth ward — Frederick Schwarz. 
Fifth ward— William J. Gillett. Sixth ward- 
Charles E. Candee. Seventh ward — Thomas 
McManus. Eighth ward — Japaes B. Brooks. 

1885. — Mayor — Thomas Ryan, Democrat. Clerk — 
Henry W. Bannister. Treasurer — Charles J. 
Rae. Aldermen — First ward — John Leahey. 
Second ward — Charles Listman. Third ward — 
James Downey. Fourth ward — Phillip Goettel. 
Fifth ward — John G. Glazier. Sixth ward — 
Charles E. Candee. Seventh ward — Thomas 
McManus. Eighth ward — Terrence D. Wilkin. 

L886. — Mayor — Willis B. Burns, Republican. Clerk- 
Henry W. Bannister. Treasurer — Michael 
Whelan. Aldermen — First ward — John Leahey. 
Second ward — Charles Listman. Third ward — 


James Downey. Fourth ward— Phillip Goettel. 
Fifth ward — John G. Glazier. Sixth ward — 
Charles E. Candee. Seventh ward — Thomas 
Mc Manus. Eighth ward — Terrence D. Wilkin. 

1887.— Mayor— Willis B. Burns, Republican. Clerk 
— Henry W. Bannister. Treasurer — Michael 
Whelan. Aldermen — First ward — John Leahey. 
Second ward — Charles Listman. Third ward — 
Patrick Quinlan. Fourth ward — Jacob Galster. 
Fifth Ward— Charles C. Lott, Sixth ward- 
Charles E. Candee. Seventh ward — Peter E. 
Garlick. Eighth ward — Joseph W. Young. 
Ninth ward — Frank M. Sweet. Tenth ward — 
John P. Shumway. Eleventh ward — John Mc- 

1888.— Mayor— William B. Kirk, Democrat. Clerk- 
Henry W. Bannister. Treasurer — Michael Whe- 
lan. Aldermen — First ward — John Leahey. 
Second ward — Peter Snavely. Third ward — 
Patrick Quinlan. Fourth ward — John Finegan. 
Fifth ward — Charles C. Lott. Sixth ward- 
Charles E. Candee. Seventh ward — Peter E. 
Garlick. Eighth ward — C. Eugene Seager. 
Ninth ward — Frank M. Sweet. Tenth ward — 
John Scanlan. Eleventh ward — John McLennan. 

1889.— Mayor— William B. Kirk, Democrat, Clerk 
— Henry W. Bannister. Treasurer — Benjamin 
W. Roscoe, Aldermen — First ward — Thomas 


Small. Second ward — Peter Suavely. Third 
ward — Frank Matty. Fourth ward — James Fine- 
gan. Fifth ward — Terrence D. Wilkin. Sixth 
ward— Charles E. Candee. Seventh ward — 
Michael D. McAuliffe. Eighth ward — C. Eugene 
Seager. Ninth ward — Edward M. Klock. Tenth 
ward — John Scanlan. Eleventh ward — John 

18!»0. — Mayor — William Cowie, Republican. Clerk 
— Henry F. Stephens. Treasurer — Benjamin W, 
Roscoe. Aldermen — First ward — Thomas Small. 
Second ward — Andrew Zinsmeister. Third ward — 
Frank Matty. Fourth ward — Benjamin Stephen- 
son. Fifth ward — Terrence D. Wilkin. Sixth 
ward — Charles E. Candee. Seventh ward — 
Michael D. McAuliffe. Eighth ward— Charles 
F. Ayling. Ninth ward — Edward M. Klock. 
Tenth ward— Michael O'Neill. Eleventh ward- 
John McLennan. 

1891. — Mayor — William Cowie, Republican. Clerk 
— Henry F. Stephens. Treasurer — Benjamin W. 
Roscoe. Aldermen — First ward — John Leahey. 
Second ward — Andrew Zinsmeister. Third ward — 
Frank Matty. Fourth ward — Benjamin Stephen- 
son. Fifth ward — Peter J. Mack. Sixth ward 
— Charles E. Candee. Seventh ward — John J. 
Murray. Eighth ward — Thomas Merriam. Ninth 
ward — Philip G. Brown. Tenth ward — Thomas 


McCarthy. Eleventh ward— Fred A. M. Ball. 
Twelfth ward— Edward C. Smith. Thirteenth 
ward — Leonard S. Hamson. Fourteenth ward — 
John S. Carter. 

L892. — Mayor — Jacob Amos, Republican. Clerk — 
Henry F. Stephens. Treasurer — Patrick R. 
Quinlan. Aldermen — First ward — John Leahey. 
Second ward — Andrew Zinsmeister. Third ward 
— Frank Matty. Fourth ward — Benjamin Steph- 
enson.. Fifth ward — Peter J. Mack. Sixth ward 
— Robert C. Mc Clure. Seventh ward — John J. 
Murray — Eighth ward — Eugene J. Mack. Ninth 
ward — Philip G. Brown. Tenth ward — William 
J. Nairn. Eleventh ward— Fred A. M. Ball. 
Twelfth ward — Jay B. Kline. Thirteenth ward — 
Leonard S. Hamson. Fourteenth ward — John A. 

L893. — Mayor — Jacob Amos, Republican. Clerk — 
Henry F. Stephens. Treasurer — Patrick R. 
Quinlan. Aldermen — First ward — John Leahey. 
Second ward — Andrew Zinsmeister. Third ward 
— Frank Matty. Fourth ward — Benjamin Steph- 
enson. Fifth ward — Peter J. Mack. Sixth 
ward — Robert C. Mc Clure. Seventh ward — 
George Freeman. Eighth ward — Eugene J. Mack. 
Ninth ward — George A. Ball. Tenth ward — 
William J. Nairn. Eleventh ward — Robei-t 
Ballard. Twelfth ward— Jay B. Kline. Thir- 


teenth ward— Leonard S. Hamson. Fourteenth 
ward— John A. Tholens. Fifteenth ward— John 
Reagan. Sixteenth ward — Frederick A. Schuck. 
Seventeenth ward— Patrick J. McMahon. Eight- 
eenth ward— Otto A. Thomas. Nineteenth ward 
— John J. Murray.